Here we are heading into a new week, Monday morning of Holy Week, but I am not feeling the same kind of anticipation known in past years. When I awakened today, my first thoughts were for those sick, those fearful, those alone in crisis. There in the darkness of the predawn I chose to turn my heart to my God. “Lord, what of this? How do we meet this challenge? Will You heal my friends, bring Your powerful restoration to this broken world?”
In my meditation, this was His word – “My grace is sufficient.”
It is a great phrase, but so much more than a Hallmark™ greeting!
I am certain that I am not the only person who is struggling to keep my footing in this mess of a pandemic. If you are feeling dread, if you are fearful, if you are anxious – there is courage to be found in this declaration – “My grace is sufficient.”
Let’s explore it together. St. Paul was struggling with a “thorn in the flesh.” “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. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” He does not tell us what that was, but from context we can conclude that something was making his life hard, bringing him discomfort.
He says that he prayed three times for God to heal him but instead of healing, the Spirit gave him this word. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV)
“Grace” is a translation of a rich word in the original text about the goodness of God, His favor, a gift that changes us by filling us with the joy and wholeness that is the very nature of God. And, what He offers to us is “sufficient,” enough to meet the challenge, all the resource needed!
Paul’s response to that revelation was surrender to God’s will and acceptance of his own weakness. He isn’t whining about his misery, nor is he fishing for comfort from others. He realized that his own inability to overcome that thing that was causing him such pain, was a way that God was inviting him to rely on a power outside of himself, the powerful Presence of the Spirit. At the point of the death of his self-will, God was able to step in, give him a quality of life he could never have achieved for himself.
God’s word for me, for you, this Monday is “My grace is sufficient.” He is more than enough. He is peace. He is life. He is love. As you pray today start with a confession of your need – but instead of demanding that He change your world – invite Him to pour Himself into you, changing YOU. Offer him your surrender, not resigning to fate, but allowing Him to make the sorrow, the hardship, an opening through which His gifts can flow into your heart.
Yes, “My grace is sufficient.”
Here is a word from the Word. “We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort. I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:7-10, NLT)
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