but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
One of the hardest lessons for most of us to learn is that our points of weakness can become our greatest opportunities to experience God’s strength. Too often, we deny we’re weak and we miss wonderful steps of growth. God seldom demonstrates His amazing power, however, until and unless we admit we are powerless. And even then, He provides exactly what we need- not more and not less.
When Corrie Ten Boom was a young woman growing up under Nazi domination, she told her father, “I’m not sure I can survive the strain.” Her father, a wise man, asked her, “Corrie, when you take the bus home each day, does the driver ask for a year’s fare?”
“No father,” she replied, not knowing where he was going with the question.
“Does he ask you for a week’s fare?”
“No, father, he doesn’t. I only have to give him the fare for that ride.”
Her fathers eyes brightened, and he explained, “ That’s the way God’s grace is for us. He always gives us what we need at the time we need it.”
From time to time, all of us face situations when we feel submerged in confusion, pain, and difficulties. At those moments, we don’t need grace and wisdom for the whole solution. We just need them for the next step. God will give us exactly what we need at the time we need it- probably not more and certainly not less.
God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.
Most of us are aware that it’s important to set aside rainy day funds. We don’t know when those days will occur but we by experience know they will. Whenever there’s a storm in the forecast, we will stock up on food, water, batteries and such to be prepared for again experience has taught us to do so. But what about our faith bank? Do we wait until there’s a crisis in our lives before we make an investment? Or do we act wisely as we do with rainy day funds and supply stocking in preparation for the unexpected. What I mean by faith banking is the idea that we develop our prayer life when life is manageable. We deepen our relationship with God through both prayer and His Word. Psalm 119 instructs us to hide God’s Word in our hearts. This way we are prepared for the coming crisis. Jesus said that we ought to dig down to rock and build a strong foundation so that the storm won’t blow us away.
The interesting thing about grace and faith is that usually there’s just enough to carry us through with little to none left over. Most of us feel like we don’t have enough of either. We often wonder if we will survive and whether God will keep us and bring us through the adversity. One of the most powerful lessons on trusting God daily is the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. It seems that after a few days the provisions they had brought with them ran out. They may have prepared for the journey but it was taking longer than planned or expected. As they ran out of food, we see their response one of despair, fear, and anger. They felt that God had forsaken them, forgetting how He had delivered them from the slavery of Egypt and opened the Red Sea before them and drowned Pharaoh’s army. This was a new crisis and they were unable to apply the history of the faithfulness of God to their current crisis. Sound familiar? We often can reminisce about how God worked in the past but to transfer that into our current situation is another matter. Even now there are those who worry that the church won’t survive this current environment. Yet history tells us that the church has gone through some pretty rough times and it’s still here. That ought to give us hope for tomorrow. Many of us have personally gone through some tough times, but somehow we’re still here. “Pharaoh’s army” hasn’t swallowed us up. For the Israelites, God provided food in the form of manna- heaven’s food. Every day the Israelites went out and there lying on the ground was the manna. Some of them ignored Moses’ instructions to gather only enough for that day. God was teaching them daily dependence on Him for provision. So they gathered several days supply, perhaps doubting that they would get another opportunity. Imagine their surprise when the next morning what they had stored was infested with worms and had to be thrown away. All the wasted effort of gathering and storing only to find it useless. That’s us. We often attempt to rest on yesterday’s blessings or experiences with God only to find them stale and ineffective in the crisis. God supplies enough for each day and He does so that grace and faith stay fresh. For forty years, God faithfully supplied food to the Israelites. None of them died from starvation but quite a few died because of unbelief.
The second story that further drives home the idea that God’s grace and provision usually are only sufficient daily is the lesson of a little widow woman. It seems that she and her son were in a crisis. It was a time of famine and she only had a little flour and a little bit of oil. Just enough to make a little cake of bread for herself and her son for a last meal before starvation. Elijah happened by and made a request. Would she make him a little cake? The woman relies that she only has enough for herself and her son but she chose to make the cake for Elijah. After doing so she discovered that there was still a little flour in the barrel and a little oil in the flask so she could make herself and her son a little cake. The flour barrel never got full- there was just a little there each day, and the oil flask kept looking empty but somehow a little oil still poured out. Every day was the same throughout the famine. Never too much but never too little.
You and I also can count on God to give us sufficient supply of grace, mercy, and blessings. It may not be full and running over, but it will always be enough. It may feel like walking a high wire or cliffhanging but somehow it’s always just enough.
We have the promise of God for “sufficient grace.” There will always be enough grace and power in our greatest weakness and struggles. The Bible says that where sin abounds, grace does so much more abound. Whenever we fall or fail we can be sure that when we turn to God with our hearts, we will find sufficient grace. When we learn to trust God, we find that He always supplies our needs- spiritual and physical.
I realize that we are all in a crisis globally, nationally, and individually. We do not pretend that there isn’t great stress and anxiety with everything that’s affecting our lives. We don’t pretend that we don’t struggle or falter or fail. Our confidence isn’t in our might or wisdom but in the One who gives us sufficient grace. We come boldly to the throne of God because we are sure that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to forgive our sins and cleanse our hearts. Every day we come and everyday we find just enough to meet our need. If the need is great, the supply is also great. If the need is small the supply matches it. Never too much and never too little. Sufficient!
Dr. John Thompson