healing vs. the thorn in the flesh
In most Christian churches of today, the healing gifts are dismissed for signs & wonders because we are taught that they are unreliable. And if nothing happened, well, it must have been God's unfathomable will. After all, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the apostle Paul tried praying for healing once and nothing happened. That passage is: " So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
What does this "thorn in the flesh" mean? It was a figure of speech that the Christians at the Corinthian church would have recognized and would have known the story behind. It was either a Jewish or Greek figure of speech. Paul knew both cultures well. The most likely one was in the Torah, Numbers 33:55: "But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell."
In the Corinthian letter, Paul's conclusion (verse 10), was that he should be content with social hardships. In the Torah, God's curse was for social hardship.
What are the results of this change in understanding? When we are praying for relief, we are not to give up after the first effort. We need to seek the Lord for guidance as to the best direction to take to bring relief to the person. We need to ask, seek and knock for God's Gifts of healings to see that specific healing. We need to pray long and fervently to see the answer. Never give up. Even if the person dies. God still raises the dead! We need to confess our sins for God to hear us, sometimes. God promises in Deuteronomy 7:11-16 that if we walk in obedience, none of these diseases and persecutions will befall us.
edited: March 31, 2017 Orderofsaintpatrick.org/heal/thorn-flesh.htm