“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
We read here a present-tense promise from the Lord of all creation.
In this season where loss tends to cut deeper, and loneliness tends to loom larger, these words spoken long ago have a direct, and present, and powerful application in the lives of any believer in Jesus Christ today.
A verse later, having received those words, Paul the apostle said, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
That is such an important piece, and it’s one that often goes neglected in the midst of our own trials.
Do we take pleasure in infirmities? How can that be possible?
Coming to a place of peace, knowing that regardless of the outcome of our present struggle, Christ’s grace – God’s grace – will be sufficient for us – that seems attainable.
But to reach a place where we take pleasure in an infirmity, truly, that seems almost unthinkable.
And, in that, that’s where God’s grace proves its sufficiency.
This is an area of scripture where the English translation of the word “pleasure” falls short of the depth communicated in the Greek manuscripts.
The picture here is not of one riding through the roller coaster of life’s trials with glee, as though we were on a roller coaster.
The word in Greek is “eudokeo,” which means to think well of, or to approve. It speaks here of a resolved acceptance of what God is doing.
Whatever happens in this – no matter how long it tarries in my life – whatever the eventual outcome, God has allowed this in my life. He hasn’t removed it – not yet, at least. I accept what God is doing, and I know that HIs grace will indeed be sufficient for what lies ahead.
And I will think well of that.
This isn’t an encouragement toward positive affirmation and happy thoughts. It is simply, I will think well of this, because God’s perfect will is being accomplished here.
We serve a God Who ministers through our thorns, in ways we often can’t begin to understand in the moment.
He speaks to your family, and your friends – your co-workers and neighbors, in your trials and sufferings.
We face these things – He allows even the struggle you are facing today – that eyes might be turned toward Him.
Even though we may be brought to the point of not having an ounce of strength left, we will think well of it. Because the power of Jesus Christ will rest upon us. And the power of Jesus Christ will be seen in our lives. When we are weak, which is always, He is strong.
His grace is sufficient. The word used there in the Greek speaks of raising a barrier – specifically something used to ward off an enemy. And it can be translated – in fact, in scripture it is translated more often, as “to be content.”
Think of it in that sense as – God’s grace is your contentment.
It won’t run out on you. It will hold back what attacks you. Indeed, Jesus will hold you in the midst of this – whatever it is.
And we think well of this for His sake!
Knowing that He is working something together that we cannot begin to understand yet.
Joey Crandall is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Carson Valley.