Life is wearing on me like that crazy day at the State Fair.  My daughter wanted to ride Pharaoh’s Fury.  This carnival favorite features a giant ship, that rocks on a pendulum creating a sense of weightlessness.

She asked me to go with her.  No way! I get dizzy in a rocking chair.  But she pleaded so my reluctant daddy heart walked the plank with her.

The boat got to rockin’ and my stomach got to heavin.’ Back and forth – forever it seemed.  As I groaned for relief, the ride finally began to slow.

But the operator saw no one else in line.  So he yelled out, “Do you all want to go again?”  I whimpered “no,” but the cheers prevailed.  So, I suffered a second plague with the Pharaoh.

Once it stopped, I wobbled over to a bench and took the next 30 minutes to find my stomach. 


Well, its déjà vu all over again. 

The world has suffered through a horrendous year of the virus, until the morbid ride finally began to slow.  But it has revved up again and we are all thoroughly sick of it.

We are used to having smart people who quickly and decisively solve our problems.  But this ride just won’t end.

As to the who or the how it got started, I won’t venture to say.  BUT I am certain I know who can stop it.

In the past, the Lord has stepped in and halted plague and pestilence.  2 Samuel 24:25 says, “And the Lord accepted prayers for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel.”

Prayer was the key then, but our prayers seem to go unanswered today.  Why is that?

The apostle Paul was beset by what he called a “thorn in the flesh.”   This thorn was a metaphor for a seriously painful situation in Paul’s life – something that he could barely endure. 

We don’t know for sure what it was. Some conjecture that it was a problem with his eyesight.  Others suggest that it referred to a tenacious persecutor.

According to 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul spent a season in prayer asking God to remove the thorn.  God was silent. The thorn dug in, so he spent a second season in prayer. God was silent.  The wound was getting infected, so he spent a third season in prayer.   He pleaded with God to hit the kill switch to the wretched ride. 

God said no to His faithful servant – the amazing apostle Paul, but He did tell him why.  He said, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (v. 10)

Paul was an accomplished person.  He even boasted about the things he achieved prior to his conversion.  (Philippians 3:2-6).   No doubt, he was sometimes tempted to bring his do-it-yourself mentality to the work of the ministry. 

So, God allowed the thorn to remain, to remind Paul that his intelligence, and strength and ingenuity may be great, but it was insufficient.   It was only in a state of weakness and affliction that Paul could sense his need and fully experience God’s strength. 

Me too!  I intellectually know that I need the Lord, but it often takes difficulty to remind me of it.  And though it’s crazy, many who live on this planet don’t believe they need God at all.

God has the might to remove our plague, but He doesn’t seem to have the motivation.

When I was a kid, I wanted to get rich, so I signed-on with a mail-order company to sell personalized Christmas cards.  But I had to sell in the summer months to allow time to process the orders.

Do you know how many people buy Christmas cards in July?   No – even less than that.  I didn’t even make enough money to pay what I owed for the sample book.   My dad quickly sized up the situation and knew that I needed to be bailed out – but he waited. 

For weeks – he waited – until I finally realized my mistake and that I needed my dad and the help he could bring.

I wonder if that’s what God may be waiting on?

A PRAYER: God, this ride is just too much for us.  Please tell us what we need to know.

This has been Jim Johnson and

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Scripture references are from the NET Bible®