My strength is made perfect in weakness. — 2 Cor 12:9
It is comforting to think how fully our lives are in the hands of Christ, not only for protection, but also for spiritual discipline.
The experience of Paul described in this chapter shows this in a striking way. He had a remarkable vision, being caught up to the third heaven. The danger now was that he should be exalted overmuch, because of the privilege he had enjoyed. To prevent this, there was given to him a “thorn in the flesh,” to buffet him and to keep him humble.
This “thorn” was a messenger of Satan, and yet was used in his spiritual discipline.
He pleaded to have it taken away, but the request was not granted, because it was necessary to him. Instead of removing the thorn, however, the Lord assured him of the grace needed to enable him to endure. When he saw the meaning of it all and heard the divine promise, he began to rejoice in his weaknesses, since because of these he would have larger measures of the strength of Christ.