ďSo then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Ē
Paul had a thorn in his flesh.† I do not know what the thorn was, and I do not think that anyone else does either.† Commentators have speculated.† The main point is that he had one, and prayed earnestly several times for God to take it away.† God didnít.
Instead, God told Paul, ďMy grace is sufficient for thee.Ē (2 Cor. 12).† Was Paul a man of faith?† Certainly.† Did he have faith that God would take away his thorn?† No.† Faith can only live where there is the promise of God, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.† The fact that Paul had a thorn did not take away from Paulís faith.† Godís promise to Paul was that grace was sufficient to enable Paul to endure.† Paulís faith laid hold on the promise, and triumphed, even though the thorn was not taken away.† True faith is not wishful thinking, nor is it trying to conform God to our will.† True faith exists only where there is a promise.† Two things undermine any promise: either a lack of integrity in the one who promises, or his inability to fulfill the promise.† God passes both tests, for He cannot lie, and He has power to do all that He promised.†
Because of this, anything that undermines the soulís confidence in the integrity of God, or undermines confidence in the power of God, strikes directly at faith.