Thorns, splinters and paper cuts… We have all had them at some point in our lives, there is no avoiding them. These things are small in size but can be huge irritants. They are bothersome at least, and at times they can even be painful. Relief only comes when the splinter is removed or the prick has been healed. In life “thorns” come in many ways. They take the form of frustrations and stresses in our daily lives that never seem to end. In 2 Corinthians 12, we find Paul dealing with a thorn in his flesh that would not go away. He prayed to God asking Him to remove it and it did not happen. Why? Many of us may have believed that thorns were sins that were not resolved, completely acknowledged or repented for. However, verse 7 says that the thorn was a messenger from satan to torment Paul and to keep him from becoming proud. I do believe some thorns can be sins in our lives, but I also have come to understand thorns can be circumstances that are out of our control and are things that God has allowed to happen. I have to admit that I didn’t come to this understanding on my own. I received a copy of a sermon by Tony Evans and believe it or not, it came at a time in my life when I could not understand a problem I had been carrying for nearly three years. The title of his sermon was “How to Understand a Thorn”. In the sermon, Tony broke down the scripture and reminded me that all things are in God’s control. He allows things to come into our lives or circumstances to arise in certain areas to realign our focus on Him. This can be an illness (mental, emotional or physical), loss of a loved one, a dead end job, a difficult boss, financial problems, marital problems, divorce, anxiety issues, being single, infertility, the list can go on and on. These circumstances and situations, like splinters and paper cuts, can be frustrating, irritating and sometimes make us angry. We pray continually but it doesn’t go away. The thorn remains day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Why? You may have asked yourself - Why me? The question should be… Why not me? My thorn has put me in a place to “Pursue Him”. I will expand on my thorn next month with Part 2 of this devotional series.