Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from exalting myself.  II Cor. 12: 27

In our world surpassingly high intelligence is probably considered the highest and most substantial of gifts.  All my life I have been well situated to observe the very intelligent, people who are much brighter than I, but whose gifts I have the ability to recognize and appreciate.  Some find the humility to manage it well—for humility is the tool of choice here. Many do not, and become profoundly foolish or intensely wicked.

My observation here is no more than anecdotal, but I think I have enough experience in life now that it bears relating: The majority of believers I have known who have received very great gifts, particularly intellectual gifts, seem also to have been given their own versions of St. Paul’s thorn, which thankfully he did not identify.  (His omission is important. Speculation on what it actually was, such as bad eyesight or an unsympathetic wife, much reduces its power.)  There is in their lives persisting pain of many possible varieties that makes humility easier than it might be otherwise, helps make the sin of devil harder, and receives an apostolic indication that it is (1) not their fault, perhaps even when it is their fault (2) most certainly an evil, but sent by God, as he sent evil in Job’s story, for their ultimate and everlasting good.