Another faithful servant asked Jehovah to remove “a thorn in the flesh,” a nagging problem. The apostle Paul entreated God three times to be set free from this trial. Whatever it was, like an irritating thorn, it could have robbed Paul of his joy in Jehovah’s service. Paul likened it to being constantly slapped. Jehovah’s answer was: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for my power is being made perfect in weakness.” Jehovah did not take away that thorn in the flesh. Paul had to contend with it, but he added: “When I am weak, then I am powerful.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10) What did he mean?
Paul’s problem did not miraculously disappear. Still, it did not prevent him from accomplishing remarkable things in Jehovah’s service. Paul relied on Jehovah for support and constantly asked for his help. (Phil. 4:6, 7) Toward the end of his earthly life, Paul could say: “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith.”—2 Tim. 4:7.
Jehovah uses imperfect men to accomplish his will despite their shortcomings and problems, and the honor rightly goes to him. He can give them guidance and wisdom to cope with their difficulties and to maintain their joy in his service. Yes, he can use imperfect humans to do great works despite their weaknesses.
Paul stated why God did not remove his thorn in the flesh: “That I might not be overly exalted.” (2 Cor. 12:7) Paul’s “thorn” reminded him of his limitations and helped him to maintain a humble view of himself. That is in line with what Jesus taught: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12)
Trials can teach God’s servants humility and help them to appreciate that to endure faithfully they need to rely on Jehovah. Thus, like the apostle, they can “boast in Jehovah.”—1 Cor. 1:31.