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Summary: The apostle Paul experienced a great deal of pain in his life. He recognized that sometimes Satan brings the pain and sometimes God brings the pain for our own good. He prayed for God to remove the pain, but God said, “My grace is sufficient.” God didn

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

Tom Lowe

Title: The Management of Pain

Text: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” (2 Cor. 12:7).

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Introduction:

From the cradle to the cemetery, we spend much of our existence trying to avoid pain. The longer we live, the more likely it is that we will have physical problems. I know that many of you are sick and hurt. When you get up in the morning your body begins to tell you maybe you should have stayed in bed. So you are all familiar with the topic of our message, because you have all experienced pain. If you watch television commercials, you have probably noticed that many of them offer advice about how to manage pain; they advertise Tylenol, Advil, and a dozen other pain relievers. However, such solutions are only temporary. Some people try to escape pain through drugs and alcohol, but they find that their pain increases rather than disappears. Still others stoically just “grin and bear” their pain. How do you manage pain?

The Scripture reading for our lesson is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The apostle Paul experienced a great deal of pain in his life. He recognized that sometimes Satan brings the pain and sometimes God brings the pain for our own good. He prayed for God to remove the pain, but God said, “My grace is sufficient.” God didn’t remove the pain; therefore Paul used all possible resources for the removal of pain in his life. Our lesson today is going to center on how the great man of God dealt with pain.

First, let’s see that Paul experienced great pain (2 Cor. 12:7-9; Gal. 4:12-13).

He said that his pain came from a “thorn in the flesh.” There are several theories about the nature of his “thorn in the flesh.”Some people have speculated that it was a form of recurring malaria that produced serious headaches. Others have speculated that it was a form of epilepsy that resulted from his temporary blindness during his conversion experience. Still others have proposed that it was a painful eye problem. The Bible supports this theory more than the others, for Paul wrote in Galatians 4:15, “For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.”


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