I’ve began studying the book of Judges. I didn’t get very far before noticing a strong cycle with the people of Israel. Here’s a recap of the cycle:
God heard the cry of the people of Israel > God delivered them from Egypt > God brought them to good land > The land already had inhabitants > God did not drive the inhabitants from the land > God gave the people instructions to not partake with the people of the land but overthrow them > The people of the land will be a thorn to your side.
Judges 2:3 King James Version (KJV)
3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
Just to make this personal and more relevant… God heard our cry and answered our prayer. For instance, If you were unemployed, or looking for a new job and God allows us to work for this amazing company; however, the company has issues. The issues could be people who are not believers, your boss could be hard to deal with, your colleagues could gossip or treat you bad, etc… Just because you are dealing with this, does not mean that God did not give you the job. God put you there and gave you instructions to not participate in the gossip, but to overthrow the gossip and be an example. This of course isn’t easy, a thorn in your side never is. The good thing about the thorn is that the only way to bear it is to go to God. The thorns keep us humbled and dependent on God’s power.
I do believe that the thorn in our side is often the people we encounter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation where I’ve asked God to deliver me from these people. Even in your own church, there are some people who are going to be a thorn in your side. The amazing thing is, God gives you discernment and you will know who the thorn is and what their mission is. You will be privy to the situation. The thorn is there to teach you something, to help you to grow, to help you grow dependent on God’s power and not your own, and to keep you humble. Just remember, that’s why they’re there. I pray for your strength!