As we touched on in Wednesday’s email, suffering is not always a bad thing. But it is very much at odds with the view of God as a Santa Claus-like figure: there to grant our every wish and desire, so long as we have been good. This view of God can make parts of the Bible very confusing, for example the story in 2 Corinthians about Paul’s so-called “thorn in the side”.
2 Cor 12:7-10: Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.