God's Amazing Grace

Posted by Elaine April 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM AEST

Are your circumstances weighing you down? Do you feel trapped in your present situation? If so, you may be searching for a way out of your suffering. You may be vainly trying to find relief and solace in the flawed solutions of this world. Yet, as we learn from the apostle Paul, God is the only solution to our struggles.

For years, Paul struggled with what he called “a thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Scholars have theorized about what this might have been, but no one knows for sure what Paul faced. We do, however, know that it was mentally and physically exhausting for Paul. Perhaps because we aren’t certain what it was, we can relate more to Paul’s struggle as we compare it to our own.

In the midst of his pain and suffering, Jesus spoke directly to Paul, reassuring him of His watch care. “Three times,” says Paul, “I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

Few of us like to think of ourselves as being weak. We like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, even in our spirituality. We think we need to be strong in our Christian walk, so when sorrow comes, we strike out against it. When faced with discouragement, we draw back in fear. In the face of disappointments, we become angry, wondering if God has forgotten us. But He hasn’t, and He won’t.

God didn’t forget nor dismiss Paul’s thorn, and He won’t overlook ours. He uses life’s stresses—physical and emotional—to draw us closer to Him. He can speak to us and show us how and where His grace is most efficient.

God could have eliminated Paul’s struggle in a moment. But He knew that Paul would receive the greater blessing and the greater lesson by learning to rely on God’s perfect strength through his difficulties. God knew that His grace would not manifest nor shine in a strong and self-sufficient person like it would in a man who suffered in weakness.

Rather than removing Paul’s distress, God used it to strengthen His servant and teach him about His faithfulness in all circumstances. By trusting the Savior, Paul learned so much about mercy and grace. He discovered that no matter what he faced, God’s power and grace were available to him.
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Paul wrote, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so 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 12:9-10).

Do you find yourself stretched to the breaking point today? Even if you believe “I can’t take another day of this. I just need to leave, to escape, to begin again,”—you can’t outrun God. When you are faced with hardship, you need to run toward Him, not away from His love.

No matter what you face, God’s grace is sufficient. His power is revealed and made perfect through your weakness. Never be ashamed to cry out to the Lord. He listens for you and will come to you, fulfilling the promise of His matchless, perfect grace.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.