A thorn in my side

What happens when we aren’t sure how to feel about God’s plan?

I was on a walk with a friend the other day and posed that question. What happens when our flesh desires something other than what God has laid out for us? Is it a sin to mourn what could have been?

My flesh is weak.

Instant gratification.

Pretty things.

Hands to hold.

Boys.

Attention.

I am grateful for this season. It is good. I see Him in my every day. I’m walking closer than I ever have.

But I find myself aching for a life that could have been. A million lives that could have been. What if the me that is me isn’t the one I would have chosen?

My flesh is weak.

I loved the girl who had the boy. I loved the life that consisted of staring across the room and knowing he was there with me. A wink or a hand held through the crowd. I loved calling the same Uber home and the skip in the beat of my heart when his name popped up on my phone.

I don’t do well on my own. Anyone could probably tell you that. I get uncomfortable at parties or in social settings when I’m not with someone. I need someone to constantly be there. I get scared.

My flesh is weak.

This season is good. I will continue to say that. There are so many moments where I cannot believe this life is mine. But there is an occasional moment where I feel a literal pang in my side for the moments I miss.

I had one of those today. It started with a transaction on my Venmo timeline. Truly, I never thought I would ever say something so millennial in my whole life but here we are. Anyway, a transaction on my Venmo timeline. Silly. I know. A moment where a memory popped in my head and I thought about how good life would be. If God had just answered that prayer. If that boy had still been mine or if that job had worked out.

I cried in a Walgreens. In front of the Dry Shampoo.

A thorn in my side. I’m a little sad. A lot sad?? Probably. What can I say. What happens when we aren’t sure how to feel about God’s plan?

I’ve asked that question a million times. How can we be so close to God yet question him so often?

Paul is one of my favorite writers in the Bible. For several reasons, but mostly for both the beauty and the pain he describes in both 1 and 2 Corinthians.

I asked that question today. I kept thinking about my weak flesh. About the sadness I feel when I think about that life I wish I had. That boy I wish was mine or that job I wish had worked out.

Paul asked God to take away the thorn in his side. Pleaded with him. But what was God’s answer?

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

God wouldn’t take away the thorn in Paul’s side because He wanted to make sure that he remembered in fact that his flesh is WEAK. And because Paul’s flesh was weak he needed God all the more.

A hard thing to grasp. He may not take away some of our desires because he expects us to lean on him. To struggle and fight and hurt and ache… but also to know that he’s covering our wounds with his grace because he is stronger.

My flesh is weak. And I struggle with questions about God’s plan on a daily basis.

I’ve prayed for a million lives that I don’t have. A million people who walked out on me. A million dreams that probably won’t come true. A million questions flash through my mind when I pray. Why? Why me? Why not me?

I’ve heard 2 Corinthians 12:9 a million times. It’s one of the verses that really stands out to me in the Bible. I have grace tattooed on my wrist. I know He is standing there arms stretched out wide ready to pour grace by the bucket full onto my sins.

But, never in my life have I understood that verse fully until I really read the verse before it. The thorn in Paul’s side. The thing he wanted taken away so badly. God kept it there as a reminder.

Why does that hit so hard?

Why does that make me just a little sad?

I don’t know how to describe the frustration I feel because of the lack of satisfaction of where God puts me.

My flesh is weak.

There’s a thorn in my side that aches over a million lives I could have had.

God is keeping it there to remind me that He is stronger. That my weakness is part of my story. The story He created. The one I have to believe is better than anything I could have dreamed up.

The one I have to believe even when it’s tough.

I’m just now understanding why He isn’t taking that ache away.

Faith is accepting His words and His guidance despite our own pride and anger and desires. Up until today I don’t think I even truly could grasp the immensity of that.

Grateful to serve a God who lets me grapple with these sorts of things.

Grateful for a God who continually pours grace onto the wounds from this thorn in my side.

Carrying these words with me. The whole story this time.

 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

One thought on “A thorn in my side

  1. It amazes me the comments or the writings that come out of your head! I love reading what you write because you explain things so well. I am so very proud of you I tell you all the Time what a good writer you are! Please, please keep up the work. You touch so many people when you do.
    Love,
    Moma

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