RCL, YEar B, Proper 9

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

In our reading today Paul has an uplifting mood. However even in this elated mode we hear the overtones of the blues in his yearnings.

A thorn was given to Paul. Paul said that this was done so that he would not be too elated. It was given to him to keep him from getting “the big head.”

Paul is singing the Gospel Song of God blessings even in pain and hurt. No doubt Paul felt encouraged, but we can’t get past the reality that he wanted the thorn taken away. 

Three times Paul went to the Lord and begged that this thorn would be removed. And three times the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient…My power is made great in weakness.”

Normally, members of the congregation shouts when they hear a Gospel Song like this, but the blues doesn’t allow us to leave this story so hastily.

Yes, even Paul seems content to leave the story here, by singing the line that “Greatness comes through weakness.”

Yes Paul is singing a Gospel Song now. A song about triumph through pain. About weakness making us strong. 

But if you listen carefully to the story, you can’t help but what did Paul sing before this? 

What is the blues song that Paul sang the 1st and the 2nd time he begged for the removal of the thorn.

For all we know, Paul may have even sang this blues song after he wrote this Gospel Song codified in the letter we see today.

What blues song am I talking about?

I’m glad you asked. Paul’s song may have gone like this:


I asked You to take the thorn away,
And you said no.

I asked You to take the thorn away,
And you said no.

You said the thorn was good for me
But I'm so tired of this woe.

Yes, Paul wrote a gospel song about how weakness is made strong. But I can’t help but hear the anguish of this song that wasn’t recorded in the Bible. That song thematically is related to the great blues song that Jesus sang on the cross – “My God, My God, Why.”

Some will disagree with me, but one day you gonna wish that you came to terms with Paul’s blues song before you ran off and starting shouting about his Gospel Song.

Before you sing the Gospel Song of victory and power in weakness, make sure you sing the blues song of “Why The Thorn.” Let it marinate in your spirit and give you gifts that only telling the truth will give you.

These gifts will help you walk the rough road we all have to walk in this life.

You may choose to sing Paul’s Gospel Song after you sing Paul’s blues song. Or you may choose to sing something else. But you will be on the road that only truth can take you on.

The Blues Road…



“When you ain’t got no money, you got the blues.”

Howlin Wolf


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