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adapted from the book
Quiet Talks on Prayer
by S.D. Gordon, 1904
The Best Light for Studying a Thorn 1

The third great picture in this group is that of Paul and his needle-pointed thorn.
Talks about the certainty of prayer being answered are very apt to bring this question:
"What about Paul's thorn?" Sometimes asked by earnest hearts puzzled; sometimes with a look in the eye almost exultant as though of gladness for that thorn because it seems to help out a theory.

These pictures are put into the gallery for our help. Let us pull up our chairs in front of this one and see what points we may get to help our hearts.

First a look at Paul himself.
The best light on this thorn is through the man. The man explains the thorn.

We have a halo about Paul's head; and rightly, too. What a splendid man of God he was! God's chosen one for a peculiar ministry. One of the twelve could be used to open the door to the great outside world, but God had to go aside from this circle and get a man of different training for this wider sphere.

Cradled and schooled in a Jewish atmosphere, he never lost the Jew standpoint, yet the training of his home surroundings in that outside world, the contact with Greek culture, his natural mental cast fitted him peculiarly for his appointed task to the great outside majority.

His keen reasoning powers, his vivid imagination, his steel-like will, his burning devotion, his unmovable purpose, his tender attachment to his Lord. What a man!

Well might the Master want to win such a man for service' sake.
But Paul had some weak traits. Let us say it very softly, remembering as we instinctively will, that where we think of one in him there come crowding to memory's door many more in one's self.

A man's weak point is usually the extreme opposite swing of the pendulum on his strong point. Paul had a tremendous will. He was a giant, a Hercules in his will. Those tireless journeys with their terrific experiences, all spell out will large and black.

But, gently now, he went to extremes here. Was it due to his overtired nerves? Likely enough. He was obstinate, sometimes; stubborn; set in his way: sometimes head down, jaw locked, driving hard. Say it all softly, for we are speaking of dear old saintly Paul; but, to help, say it, for it is true.