This was the famous expression by Paul the apostle in the NT passage:
And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me–to keep me from exalting myself! (2Corinthians 12:7)
There are various interpretations as to what “thorn in the flesh” means exactly here – a person, a medical condition, or even a demonic harassment. Whichever it is I found that a thorn is an indeed a significant presence in ones life from a persoanl experience.
Several days ago I got a splinter in my index finger. It was so minsicule that I had no concerns about it – it did not affect my daily routine in any way. In a sense – it was no big deal. But the funny thing is that this little splinter was always reminding me of itself. I would type on the computer, play the guitar, or just hold a glass, I would feel a sharp pain in my index finger. Not a life threatening situaiton – but quite annoying and constantly present.
I imagine this was what Paul the apostle describes in his expereince. A thorn in the flesh can be the mercy of God so that we are alaways reminded, in a vigorous, but not impeding manner, of our limitations and of our need for Him. But after several days and after I got the spiritual lesson I asked Teresa to help me get the splinter out. I felt that I had learnt the lesson and was relieved to have the splinter removed.