I planted a couple cacti in my landscape a few years ago. I suppose I did not realize how quickly a cactus grows or how perfect the climate seems to be here in Texas for these plants! Now I have one cactus that 'looks me in the eye' and another that has spread out to be the size of my car!
Thorns from these cacti are painful, often hidden in my hand and difficult to remove. Paul states that he received a thorn from the Lord because of the revelations he had received and in order to keep him humble. Too much ink has been spilt trying to discern the exact 'thorn' Paul was given. We know it was 'a messenger of Satan,' it was 'in the flesh,' it 'tormented' Paul, and Paul prayed to be rid of it. I believe we too often focus on the 'thorn' in order to avoid focusing on Paul's application.
Paul says he is 'well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.' Christ wants to demonstrate Himself strong in us and through us as we face these trials and difficulties. Quit focusing on the thorn and begin training your eye on His grace that gives purpose to the thorn!