“If God uses sickness to teach us, he must have wasted time sending the Spirit, the Scriptures, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers.” – Brook Potter
One of my friends was really interested in healing but was stumbling at the verse of Scripture where Paul talks about his “Thorn in the Flesh.” My friend was under the impression that God had put some kind of sickness upon Paul to keep him humble. When he asked my view, I expressed my disagreement because I know God is not double minded; He would not have Jesus bare our stripes for our healing, but then still put sickness on people to teach them. That would amount to a fireman setting homes on fire so he can be the Hero.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (King James Version) And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
There are three things necessary to understand this verse; The nature of God, The Nature of the enemy, and the culture of Paul. As to the nature of God, God is Good, and everything must be filtered through his Character as expressed through Jesus Christ. Jesus never put sickness on anyone, and as such this verse cannot be implying that God put sickness on Paul. The Scriptures sum it up nicely, 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Secondly, we must understand the nature of the enemy. He is Defeated, brought to nothing. Unlike what most people think, God is not giving permission to the enemy for anything. The enemy was judged at the Cross, part of his punishment was to remain on this planet with no power and be beat up by the same people he once held in slavery (Daniel 7:12). Satan’s warfare is most guerrilla style, he roams around seeking who to strike. When He saw that Paul was prone to Pride, and knowing that would give him an advantage, the devil dispatched his messenger to buffet him.
Lastly, we must understand the culture of Paul when he used the expression “thorn in his flesh.” Every other place where the expression” thorn” was used, it always meant persecution.
Numbers 33:55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
Joshua 23:13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.
Ezekiel 28:24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
In each of these cases, the use of the expression of “Thorns” never referred to sickness, rather to persecution and harassment from a people group. That would fit the context of the verse, that this “Messenger of Satan” was sent to “buffet” him. The word “buffet” speaks of an external resistance, not an internal one.
For us to be effective in the ministry of healing, we cannot be double minded. We cannot in one instance believe that sickness was dealt with at the Whipping post of Christ, but then also can be used by God to supposedly teach people a lesson. You cannot have sure faith with teachings like that. We must recognize that The Devil is the one who comes to Devour Believers, all darkness falls under his category, not God. When we Know that God is for us, we can fight sickness with all the Full Force that the Christ in you can muster!
Joshua Tongol talking about Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh.
Brook Potter, a native of the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, has been a minister of the Finished Work of the Cross, including the ministry to heal the sick since 2009.