Tonight at a church council meeting we Paul's passage about having a thorn in his flesh, boasting in his weaknesses and letting God's strength show through our weaknesses was read. I had recently read something that involved Paul's passage in Philippians about how we are to consider others better than ourselves. Those two passages came together for me. I think on some level that God gives us our weaknesses and some of those thorns to keep us humble. I'm not sure what Paul's thorn was. In today's culture he would have had the options of plastic surgery, therapy or a number of other self-improvement options.
We need to cling to our thorns (if God doesn't take them away from us) and boast in our weaknesses. It is only when we are humble that we are able to consider others better than ourselves. I know I don't boast in my weaknesses--my tendency is to try to cover them up or highlight my strengths. And I know I can fall into the trap of viewing others superciliously. I forget that each person is created in the image of God. Without remembering that, I don't elevate others above myself. I don't give honor to the God in each of them (not in a New Age way, of course, but acknowledging the eternal value that God esteems each person with). Don't give up on me--God keeps working, jabbing me with another thorn here and there, reminding me of my weaknesses.