In today’s post, I felt led to speak about one of the “𝐧𝐨𝐭-𝐬𝐨-𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠” parts of operating in the 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜. It’s not often talked about as it relates to this gifting: 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐑𝐍 𝐈𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐈𝐃𝐄.
Many of us have heard of Paul’s “𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞”, and how he asked for God (three times) to remove it. Whatever it was, it was a nuisance, it was painful, uncomfortable, and something Paul had faith to believe God could free him from. And yet, God didn’t. He allowed it. And to Paul he said the verse many of us know by heart, “My 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞 is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” You can read through the conversation in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
We often get caught up on 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 the thorn was. But did you catch 𝐰𝐡𝐲 the thorn was given?
Because of the 𝐚𝐛𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 of 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 and 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐠𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 Paul operated in.
Hardly seems “fair”, doesn’t it? But here’s the truth, that 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 prophetic gifting that Paul was graced with, that changed lives and revealed wondrous things 𝐨𝐟 God and 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 God, and that led and helped Paul navigate some of the most dangerous moments of his life, that same gifting 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 carried the potential for pride to sneak in and puff him up.
𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 (𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲) 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐫.
The “thorn” will be different. It may hit in the same place, it may not. But the promise is that the Lord’s grace is sufficient 𝐈𝐅 the prophetic person will lean in and allow themselves to be shaped more into the likeness of Christ in the process.
Paul was willing to bear up under that conditioning. He allowed his character to become more and more refined through each challenge he faced. And that’s one of the reasons his life carried so much power and authority, and yes, so much of the prophetic.
The struggles, the distresses, even at times infirmities he faced – they were 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐝 by God to keep him humble. There was a divinely orchestrated system built in to that prophetic gifting to balance out the scales and keep him from becoming 𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐭.
In my own life, I have learned this to be true as well, at my own level. I have had thorns. I have felt that “buffeting” in my own way and in my own context. And I can assuredly confess that when I lean into it and respond from the graces being given me, in that moment and for that struggle? I grow. The gifting grows. My relationship with God deepens, and so does my humility.
A prophetic person who is arrogant, or who doesn’t have some visible “thorns” that they are navigating hasn’t given themself to the process. They’re most likely trying to hold the gift while sidestepping the way God has ordained and chosen to shape the character of the prophetic person. It won’t last. And could potentially destroy them.
In that same passage of scripture, Paul went on to say that he would rather boast in his infirmities, and that he actually got to the point where he could take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses. Because when he faced those weaknesses, then he was truly strong.
If you are a prophetic person, or are developing the prophetic gifting in your life, you need to know this. It will literally change how you view trials, tribulations, and yes, the thorns.
Thanks for reading.
Linda G Riddle