We will all face hardships and problems; thorns in the flesh, just like Paul did. (See II Corinthians 12:7)
However, these problems are not meant to destroy us. On the contrary, God allows us to face certain problems so that we will not become victims of ourselves. The Apostle Paul was greatly used by God, but in order for God not to lose him to pride, He allowed a thorn in his flesh to be a permanent fixture in his life. Despite this, Paul never rebelled against God. Instead, he depended on Him and was constantly at Jesus’ feet.
In life, we are going to go through unexpected situations even whilst serving God that we won’t understand… But what is the tendency? Many curse God and leave Him; they lose the opportunity of experiencing something great and consequently lose their communion with God. That’s why even though we may not understand what we are going through, we can’t let go of our faith, because the moment we do, the devil will come with suggestions that are designed to make us fall.
God also allows the thorn in the flesh when He sees His servants going astray in their faith. How does this happen? When we don’t spend time with Him, we stop meditating on His word, we begin to allow the pollution of this world to contaminate us and the “little foxes” such as “little lies,” bad eyes, malice and promiscuity to sneak into our lives. God allows something to happen so that we may go on our knees and humble ourselves. If we don’t do something about our situation, He will “make noise” so that we can wake up. His aim is to save us so that we don’t go off track. That’s why we must always keep in mind what Paul teaches: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God will not give us certain blessings if He sees that we are not ready because He doesn’t want us to exchange the Blesser for the blessings. “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2) Hardships and deserts reveal what is inside of us. They don’t change us for the worse, they reveal our true nature. How many people do the opposite of what they claim to believe whilst in the desert? You will only know how strong you are, when a moment of test arrives.
How does God expect us to react in the midst of problems? He wants us to react like Job did. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10) God doesn’t want us to be passive in our faith; He wants us to have faith to move mountains, but above all, the faith to persevere and to hold on to our integrity. In moments of adversity, we must learn to silence the voice of our hearts, just like Job did.
How have you been reacting in the midst of adversities? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t bow down to a foreign god, they held on to their faith and were cast into the fire; they were indeed true worshippers. In the midst of the fire, God manifested Himself and everyone knew about the God they served. (See Daniel 3-16:28) Remember, God always allows certain things for a greater gain.
It is easy to say that we love God when everything is going well, but what about in difficult moments? Job’s wife gave up but he didn’t. We cannot give up like others no matter the battle we may be facing. We must consider our ways daily and hold on to the God of our salvation.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labour of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord , I will rejoice in the Lord , I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)