Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grace is Sufficient

    One passage of Scripture has meant more to me than any other during my journey with Christ. 2 Cor. 12:9-10 say, "And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I made strong."

    Forget for a moment all the gushy things people said to you when you first found Jesus. I dare say many of you heard the same things I did, "you'll have a supernatural peace in your heart everyday" or "you'll always feel God's presence". Forget that. Anybody who's gone through a hard time in their walk can tell you there are days that you don't feel God's presence and that you feel war in your heart, not peace. There are days you feel your heart will break from the pressure of the conflict raging.

    The Christian walk is not the easy stroll it was made out to be. It's hard work, tough living, and sometimes it leaves you feeling small and very broken. There are gonna be days you doubt the very fiber of your faith in Jesus, and you wonder if you weren't crazy for deciding to follow Him. Yep, His peace is awesome, but I promise you with David that there will be those days when you instead cry out, "I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears." 

    These last couple of months, I stagger back and forth in and out of struggles with trusting God through a really hard time in my life. And it's become more and more apparent to me as time's gone on that we Christians were not made to be always victorious, but to sometimes be beaten down and crushed. At least, I know I wasn't. Those times you just feel the pressure is overwhelming? Those times you feel that life is crushing you down amid all the mysteries and things you can't understand? Those are the times when I want to shout out to God, "Where are you? What are you thinking? Why?"

    And God leaves us in the dark. This isn't a time for cute, trite sayings anymore. This is a time for cold, brutal truth. God leaves us in the dark, when we can't comprehend His ways or His reasons. There are times you feel alone, times you can't feel God there. There are times you can't feel His touch.

    But that is the time that realizations such as what Paul made in 2 Cor. 12 become so important! God's grace isn't given when I'm strong and confident. God doesn't give me Himself when I am comfortable, but when I'm weak and broken.

    As a broken individual, there is no greater truth than that. The fact that One greater than I lives in me and through my weakness makes me strong is my motivation to live even when I feel most vulnerable. When I am weak and broken, that is when God is free to work in me most. That is when I am made free to accept the strength of Jesus.

    These weaknesses are the guarantees of God's love and power shining through me. When we accept our brokenness before God, He is free to shine through us. The hard times will come, of that be certain. The trials will come, and the dark times where you wonder where God is won't bypass you. And that is why a knowledge of who God is and how He looks at you is so pivotal.

    When you walk into the hard times, the struggle is very real. It may be a day, a week, or months. It could be a battle that continues on and on, with each day a day of hopelessly surviving, just muscling through until the close of another day. The struggle could be one you fight secretly, internally, that only you know is there, hidden from the eyes of the rest of the world.

    Maybe it's a sin. Maybe it's a doubt. Maybe it's a little sliver of distrust or lack of faith. Maybe your war is a war that no one knows you fight, that every day you continue on is a struggle in the face of your feelings. Maybe your battle is a loneliness of a struggle born alone.

    Yet still, in all the struggle, while the war rages in our hearts and minds, we see the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His grace, shining through, encompassing every corner and dark crevice of our hearts. Even in the pain, even in the fight, the grace and mercy of a loving Father is sufficient for us, because He is made perfect in us by our weakness, by our reliance on Him.

    My friend, the struggle will come. The battle is real. There is no doubt of that. Internal or public, raging or quietly unsettling, the battle is real. But no less real is the grace and all-sufficiency of a perfect Savior and a loving Father. And as we open our hearts to Him and we remove our shields, we can show Him the scars of battles fought before, won or lost, victories or defeats. And His grace shines through us, and His strength fights for us, even as we show Him and realize ourselves more and more our own vulnerability and weakness. He's sufficient. He's all we need.


  1. Great article! I too often have trouble trusting God; which is somewhat ironic considering I am Reformed. :P I started reading the book "Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges (one of my favorite authors); and so far it is really good and has helped me a lot! :)

    1. As nice as it would be if this were not true, reformed people do struggle with the same trials as everyone else. :) I read "The Pursuit of Holiness" by him a long time ago. I should probably go back and reread that now.