Exaltation and Infirmity, part 2
In this passage, Paul tells us about a splinter or a thorn in his flesh that was bothering him and that he wanted to have removed, but it was not removed. He did not experience that feeling of relief that comes when a thorn/splinter is removed. He learned to live with the thorn. In fact, he gladly accepted the thorn as a means of experiencing God’s grace and power in his life.
In this passage, Paul mentions two particular experiences: the first one, heavenly, the second, satanic. The first experience was a glimpse Paradise. The second experience was very earthly. The first experience was unique to Paul; very few people have a vision of heaven like he did. The second experience is rather common; many people have a “thorn in the flesh” of one kind or another.
We learn here that God gives us grace to endure our infirmities/afflictions. The power of God is available to us through our weaknesses. Physical infirmities may allow us to more fully experience the power of Christ. So we need to see our thorns in the flesh as a means of drawing nearer to God.