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  • Alan Fong

No Pain, No Gain

Today’s Verse:

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. ~2 Corinthians 12:7

Whenever someone has surgery, the surgeon will prescribe medication to the patient to help them “manage the pain.” Managing pain means to alleviate the discomfort so that we do not feel it or until the pain subsides and is no longer a problem. All of us have various levels of pain tolerance. However, when we have exceeded our pain threshold, we are hurting, and hurting badly. We hurt so bad that we don’t want to move, we don’t want to talk, we don’t want to be around people, and we just want the pain to go away. What do you do when the pain doesn’t go away, but persists and even intensifies? This morning, we see God’s remedy for pain that exceeds our threshold and doesn’t go away. Let us see “no pain, no gain.”


We see the purpose.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations....” Paul tells us the purpose of pain in his life. He had been given a vision and revelation concerning Heaven. In this vision, he describes the inspiring sights and sounds of Heaven. No other man could make claim to such a privilege. Not long after, Paul experienced physical difficulty and discomfort. He recognized that God allowed this pain in his life to keep him from becoming conceited, haughty, and proud. His pain was sent to keep him “in check” from exploiting the blessing of God for his personal glory. Simply said, Paul’s infirmity was meant to keep him humble. The purpose was “lest I should be exalted above measure.”


We see the picture.

Paul said that his pain was a thorn in the flesh. The word for thorn means a pointed wooden stake. This kind of stake, when jabbed into someone, caused unbearable pain. He also described it as an adversarial attack. He said that the messenger of Satan afflicted him. Satan’s demonic entities will assault us with the intent of hurting us. He also said that this attack buffeted him. This means it was like being punched in the face or in the midsection. Paul was experiencing intense, ongoing pain that made him feel uncomfortable, weakened, and inhibited in his daily activities. Are you someone going through a painful time? A disabling condition? A substantial loss? An emotional or mental breakdown?


We see the provision.

Paul prayed three times for his pain to depart, or go away. God responded by telling him, “My grace is sufficient