Discouragement and disappointment sought to settle in before my feet even hit the floor. One phone call led to a potentially day-ruining bout of self-pity and frustration.
Have you ever felt that way? Do you have conversations with God that go something like: “Why won’t You? Why haven’t You?” Have you ever asked yourself while talking to God: “Am I wasting my time doing what I believe is obedience in following You?”
I hate these thoughts, and hate that I struggle with them. But that doesn’t make them go away. The choice we all have to make is what to do with them. On this particular morning, my downward spiraling thoughts shifted (praise God!) as I clicked on the app for my email inbox.
Every morning I get a devotion in my inbox from the book Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. The story in that morning’s devotion was of a man who had just lost a child (an agony of grief to which I have nothing to compare!). Leaving the churchyard after the burial, he felt compelled to prepare a sermon on the trial he had just experienced. That Sunday’s text was 2 Corinthians 12:9:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
As he studied the verse, this father / pastor noted: “I found that in honesty I could not say those words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me.” In a manner very specific to this man, God made the truth plain to Him. It is the exact truth I pray God makes plain to us. It’s a truth equally true whether you wake up with a temporary bout of self-pity or are experiencing a grief so deep that you feel you’ll never overcome it. The truth is:
God’s grace IS sufficient.
Instead of wondering if God is going to show up and bless, if He’ll provide and be enough, or if you will even make it through your current circumstance, believe what God said:
His grace IS.
It’s something He’s already given. If you are in Christ, it’s something you already have.
You don’t have to feel it. You don’t need to fully understand it. But you must choose to believe it. God’s grace is the release of His power into your weakness. It’s the power of Christ in you to give clarity when there’s confusion, to give peace when your world has been rocked, to give strength when you have none. Grace is the favor and provision of God released into whatever you need today. Let this be the truth that speaks to the emotions that seek to discourage or defeat you. God’s grace IS. He’s already given it, and you have complete access it.
In the past two weeks I’ve attended three funerals. Of the three, one was for a 55 year-old high school friend, another for the 29 year-old son of a friend. I wept with these families and wondered to myself: Apart from God, how could you walk through this? Thankfully, my friends and their families all know Jesus. They have the Spirit of Christ in them. Therefore, they have access to all they need through Him.
I know they will struggle and grieve in ways no one would want. But ultimately, Christ in them will overcome, because the power talked about in 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a power more potent than dynamite (the word from which “power” is derived.) God’s power will work in ways they can’t see and in ways they didn’t know they’d need. God’s grace will work healing in ways they could never accomplish on their own.
If people walking through the death of a loved one can experience God’s grace, so can those of us who simply let a lie-based thought come in and discourage us.
God’s grace IS here. We have it. We access it by simply believing God for the release of it.
As I sought the Lord this particular morning, one thing became very clear: in God’s grace — in His unmerited favor and goodness toward me, in His undeserved provision in my life — He had kept me from something that could harm me. Where I thought God was withholding, He is actually working His grace for me. He has kept me — kept me safe, kept me growing, kept me on the path of loving Him and loving others. He hasn’t withheld anything good from me. Instead, He has given me more of Himself, and “In Him is life” (John 1:4).
The grace of God is His keeping power, and it will keep you! It will keep you through the darkest nights and blackest storms. It will keep you through the most petty struggles. It will keep you and strengthen you. That’s how big and personal our God is!
His grace IS!
Here’s another post on the grace of God, a bit of my journey into living by grace: