The Apostle Paul had what he referred to as "a thorn in the flesh". There has been much speculation in regards to exactly what this was. I don't think the what matters that much really. In fact, I believe the specifics were omitted on purpose so that we might find it applicable to whatever "thorn" we encounter in our own lives.
A thorn or sliver which is not removed causes tenderness and discomfort. Even though it maybe small, our whole attention is upon it because it hurts! It can also cause infection and if not treated, could even lead to death.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we learn that Paul brought his "thorn" before God three times. He asked God to "remove" it but God didn't. Wait a minute! God didn't remove it? That's right. God does not always do something just because we ask Him to do so. Do you always do what your children ask you to do? Think about that for a moment.
Paul records God's response to his repeated plea. And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NKJV)
Now hold on a minute! God is going to let Paul continue to endure this thorn in the flesh? But... but... what about healing? What about deliverance? Is this a contradiction of scripture? Absolutely not! Take a good hard look at what is going on here. There is something going on here that is far deeper than physical healing and deliverance... and much more enduring. Paul is learning that the power of God is greater than his "thorn", not through the manifestation of physical healing but through God's grace to endure.
Paul demonstrates for us once again that God is bigger than our circumstances and that if we cling to God we do not simply endure, we demonstrate to others that God is bigger! Paul goes on to say:
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corintians 12:9b-10 (NKJV)
You O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Ps. 18:28