Prophetic Thorns in the Flesh

The following is an edited letter that I sent to a modern-day Job, who is in solitary confinement.


I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you.

You remind me of Job, the Man of God. He was certainly a prophet, a seer, and a holy man. But the devil was permitted by God to afflict Job with “painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7). There are many Pentecostal/Charismatics today who teach that no faithful Christian is supposed to endure such torment. They say “Job’s case was special; it was only for the Old Testament days.” Some even say that Job sinned, although that notion contradicts God’s Word (Job 1:1). People who follow the teaching of Kenneth Hagin, and a lot of the corrupt televangelists on TBN, who live in the lap of luxury–they are the teachers that teach such things. But I say they are misguided and are misguiding others.

Brother, although I have never experienced your suffering, I can honestly say that I sympathize with your suffering (with the capacity that I am able). My godly wife has gone through incredible sickness about 2 or 3 times. And, as you can imagine, I have been faced with the ethical and theological issue of interpreting suffering in the lives of devout Christians. Job’s experience is possible for New Testament Christians, as Paul wrote: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me” (2 Cor. 12:7).

Sir, do you have powerful dreams and visions? If so, then your myelopathy, neuropathy, and spinal stenosis could be from devils (through God) in order to keep you humble on account of the visions. I have bowel problems, rosacea (a very humbling skin condition on the face), and a very low income. These are my thorns in the flesh–but I realize that they are also prophetic in their purpose. Because they do keep me humble. Yet, I still do pray for them from time to time. My wife continues to suffer from her sickness, but for now it is manageable with her medicine. She has powerfully accurate dreams and visions. But she is also humbled by her sickness and all the baggage that comes with it. Thorns in the flesh are kind of like prophetic “marks”. They mean 2 things: (1) God loves you enough to give you surpassingly great revelations through dreams, visions, and God’s voice. (2) You have a pride issue, and God allows the devil to afflict you with all of his might, so that he can break your pride, and keep you humble–and humility is the root of all virtues according to many Catholic saints and holy men.

But suppose you don’t receive dreams, visions, and revelations. Then know that the devil is still being allowed to afflict you in order for God to make you humble. When this has been accomplished, the divine punishment will lift from off of you, and will be preceded by a dream or vision of the very devils who are causing your myelopathy, neuropathy, and spinal stenosis. This gift of discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10) was demonstrated time and again in the suffering of that great Catholic prophetess, Hildegard of Bingen. In fact, I would suggest you read her life for your encouragement: Gottfried and Theoderic’s The Life of the Holy Hildegard.

Also, try not to feel discouraged about your solitude. Christians can experience mighty revelations while in solitude. There is more time to devote to contemplative prayer. Look what happened to the apostle John when he was locked up in his prison cell on the island of Patmos: a panaromic vision of the end of the world! “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Rev. 1:9-10).

But who am I to be saying all of these things? I have never suffered what you are suffering. I don’t understand the pains and stigmas that you have received. But I have experienced some level of suffering, and received a revelation into its mysteries. I pray that with the same faith you had to write me in this prayer request, you would–in faith–receive the “suffering revelation” I have written you in this letter.

Finally, and I know that this method works better than any other at combating the devil:

(1) IF you feel, sense, hear a voice, or see a vision of a devil causing a symptom of sickness in you—and you (in a flash) know that you know it is surely the devil…

(2) THEN, with all good faith, command that devil with a short and forceful phrase (whether mentally or verbally)–something along the lines of…

(3) “GET OUT IN JESUS’ NAME!” (In a firm and very angry tone).

(4) REPEAT until the symptom stops–you should only have to do this once or twice.

I hope that this helps, or that at least some of it helps. In Jesus’ Name, I pray for your full development in humility, and for your speedy healing and deliverance. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).

In Christ,

About Wesley Gospel is self-published in the spirit of John Wesley and the Reformers, as when they used the printing press. The truth of God won't be censored or suppressed!
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