Bill Johnson explains his view on: Does God Cause Sickness? Does God Choose Not to Heal? What Was Paul’s Thorn?
This will get you thinking about these three popular questions that Christians have wrestled with for thousands of years. I like the reference to Paul’s intimate knowledge of the Old Testament and that in the old testament, the phrase “thorn in the flesh” was used twice and neither time referred to physical sickness and both referred to “a person opposing something”. I have read this passage again and again and although I do not completely understand the nature of the “thorn”, my spirit also tells me it was not a physical sickness as many interpret. I believe for the most part, Paul had an open door to heaven but somewhere in his travels, someone caused Paul so much opposition, that it became a hindrance to Paul’s ministry (a thorn in His flesh so to speak or as we might say in the west “a pain in the neck!”). For some reason God allowed a person to oppose Paul’s ministry, so much, that it caused Paul distress over the issue and God and would not remove the opposition. I believe the term back then, was much like us using the term “Joe is a pain in the neck”. Westerners automatically understand this means “Joe is annoying”, yet if someone did not understand the “slang” behind the phrase, they might think Joe is physically hurting my neck. That’s my perspective anyway 🙂
Thorn – a Christian perspective
The apostle Paul was plagued by a “thorn”–a problem, obstacle, or hindrance that is not specified but which clearly caused him great anguish. God didn’t remove this thorn at Paul’s request, and Paul came to view its persistence as a way of keeping him humble.