“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.” -2 Corinthians 12:9a ESV
This is what the Lord said to Paul in response to Paul’s request to deliver him from his thorn in the flesh. For many years I’ve read that response as though God was telling Paul to suck it up and endure it. After all, Paul had experienced God’s unmerited favor, so what was he complaining about?
When we think of God’s grace, we typically associate it with His loving-kindness, redemptive mercy, forgiveness, or a sense of God’s favor bestowed upon us. But then, how do we experience God’s grace when we’re suffering through tragedy or through a difficult trial? Are we supposed to just endure and try to look on the bright side of God’s grace? I’ve attempted to do that during times of great trial. I’ve tried counting my blessings and naming them one by one as the old hymn says. While that may have provided some encouragement, I would still be left with the feeling that those days of blessing were gone and may never return. It didn’t seem that God’s grace, in that context, was sufficient to endure the trial.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul says that in order to keep him from becoming conceited because of the greatness of the revelations that God had allowed him to see, a thorn was given him in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass him. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn. But the Lord responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The second half of that statement gives meaning to the first. God is telling Paul that he can draw upon God’s strength during his time of weakness, and God’s strength is sufficient to see him through his trial. And Paul gets it. He continues, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Four years later, Paul wrote his letter to the church at
contains the often quoted passage “I can
do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Paul had learned the power of God’s
grace. He understood the sufficiency of
God’s powerful grace.
If you are a follower of Christ and are in the midst of trial or tragedy, turn to God in your weakness and draw upon His powerful grace. His power is made perfect in your weakness.
If you are not a Christ follower, you can experience His grace in many ways if you will confess that you are separated from God by sin and acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of all who will call upon His name. His grace is sufficient to save you, to keep you, and to give you strength for your journey through life.
God’s grace is sufficient for you.
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