At some point in the Apostle Paul’s life the Lord brought him up to Heaven. AT THAT TIME Jesus gave Paul some revelations the church desperately needed. Today, we refer to those as the “Pauline revelations.” Paul got revelations concerning grace, the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the gentiles portion of all these.
2 Corinthians 12:7 On account of these revelations there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be elevated above the status quo.
God gave Paul these revelations for the body of Christ. These revelations would move the body forward. There was dissention among the Apostles about circumcision, salvation by grace and if the gentiles could be partakers. The church would be spiritually impeded without the revelations God gave to Paul. When Paul began to minister these revelations, the devil did everything he could to hinder Paul.
What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?
His life was in constant jeopardy. Five different times the Jews gave him thirty-nine stripes. They beat him with rods, they stoned him, he was in three shipwrecks and was robbed many times. The devil uses men to do his dirty work. Anyone who is entrusted with revelation has a bulls-eye on his backside! Paul knew the devil was behind all these attacks so he didn’t wrestle with flesh and blood. He prayed the Lord would get the devil out of his life three times.
Finally, Paul got a revelation from Jesus, “My grace is sufficient for you”. God’s grace to Paul was a supernatural empowerment to get him through the trials. Paul began to rejoice those attacks came at him because God would empower Paul to gain the victory. The devil took his best shot at Paul but could not stop him.
One day Paul was preaching in the city of Lystra when certain Jews came from nearby cities. They stirred up the people and they stoned Paul. They drug his body outside of the city. These were some of the best rock churches in the area. I personally believe that this is the time Paul was caught up into Heaven. As Paul was laying on the ground with his head caved in from the stoning the disciples stood over him. Paul rose up from the ground, dusted himself off and walked to Derbe where he preached the gospel. I can only imagine how Paul was wounded from those stones, but by the grace of God he supernaturally recovered. Paul welcomed all these attacks because he knew God would intervene when he was weak he became strong.
2 Timothy 3:11 All the persecutions and afflictions that came upon me, I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
Paul’s thorn in the flesh did not accomplish what the devil sent it to do, Paul fulfilled everything God gave him to do. God doesn’t take us out of our problems, He gives us His grace to get us through. We are overcomers.