Re-reading the Bible in search of examples of patience and humility. May God grant me the endurance to see this study carried out.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 — “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
MacArthur commentary for 2 Corinthians 7-10: “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan.” This was sent to him by God, to keep him humble. As with Job, Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause. Paul’s use of the word “messenger” (Greek, angelos or angel) from Satan suggests the “thorn in the flesh” (lit., “a stake for the flesh”) was a demonized person, not a physical illness. Possibly, the best explanation for this demon was that he was indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthian conspiracy, the leader of the false prophets. Through them he was tearing up Paul’s beloved church and thus driving a painful stake through Paul…”to keep me from becoming conceited.” The assault was painful but purposeful. God was allowing Satan to bring these severe trouble in the church for the purpose of humbling Paul who, having had so many revelations, including a trip to heaven and back, would have been proud. The demonized false apostle attacking his work in Corinth was the stake being driven through his otherwise proud flesh. “Three times I pleaded.” Both Paul and Jesus had their request denied, but were granted grace to endure their ordeals…Paul took no pleasure in the pain itself, but rejoiced in the power of Christ that it revealed through him.