Thursday, August 28, 2014

"My Grace, Sufficient"

     "My grace is sufficient for thee" (II Corinthians 12:9).

    A writer of old reverently declared this statement of old to possess an almost ludicrous nature.  "My grace" - an infinite and measureless glory - supplies for the Apostle Paul's need - a mere "thorn" of finite and temporal limit?  Imagine a thimble to be filled with the floods of Niagara, or the reservoirs of the Mississippi River, or the depths of the Pacific Ocean.  Such illustration pales in comparison to "My grace… sufficient for thee."

    Note the holy components of such assurance.  First, the promise is personal - "My."  The gifts of God all descend as graced by the person of God - "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19; emphasis added).  I will never forget the day many years ago when those last three words of Paul's affirmation of Divine supply seemed to  illuminate with the light of Heaven.  "By Christ Jesus" God supplies for our every need.  With the gift comes the Giver.  Our Father has nothing in His treasure chest of  grace that does not include His Son.  To this day, I do not understand the spiritual mechanics, as it were, of such Christ-graced provision.  I grow more convinced, however, that if we could see the things of the Spirit, we would behold the Son of the Father as the heart and essence of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (James 1:17).

    "Grace."  God promised to Paul His unmerited and unexpected favor rather than the removal of the thorn.  Indeed, better to live with pain, if the challenge offers opportunity to know the heart of our blessed Lord.  Difficulty makes far more likely our awareness of need and subsequent determination to "come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and to find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).  It would be wonderful if blessing alone kept us near to the throne.  This is not the case in our present existence, however.  "Before I was afflicted, I went astray.  But now I have kept Thy word" (Psalm 119:67).  Just as Paul, we require thorns for the purpose of realizing our desperate need for the Rose of Sharon and the beautiful grace of His heart.

    "Is."  The God of grace is also the God of truth.  He cannot lie, He cannot be other than who He is, and every promise He has ever made will be fulfilled in pristine perfection.  Yes, Somebody exists so trustworthy that Solomon beckons to "Trust the Lord with all thy heart" (Proverbs 3:5).  Such complete confidence cannot be placed in anyone less than all faithful.  Our Lord is, and His grace is sure to all who rest their hearts in the safe haven of Truth: "Thou art my hiding place and shield; I hope in Thy word" (Psalm 119:114).

   "Sufficient."  Recall that such assurance of provision speaks of life with a thorn.  Certainly grace would be sufficient without the prick, the blood, and the anguish, even as we shall experience in our Christ-secured eternity to come.  Our present knowledge and experience of grace, however, expands exponentially when God stills His hand and leaves our thorn.  He rather invites us into heart when pain must remain, revealing to us a sufficiency so great that we discover peace to "pass all understanding," joy to be "unspeakable and full of glory," power to be "exceeding, abundantly above," and the love of Christ to "pass knowledge" (Philippians 4:7; I Peter 1:8, Ephesians 3:20; Ephesians 3:19).   Only with our thorns can the limitless measure of God's grace begin to be known.

   "For."  Or, as the prophet invited, "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea come and by wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).  God bestows His grace upon "the poor in spirit," that is, those who hurt and who know they possess nothing in and of themselves with which to access the grace necessary to endure the thorn (Matthew 5:3).  Such provision is for us, that is, the abundant supply purchased by the blood and sacrifice of He who gave everything He had in order to freely give us everything we need.  Oh yes, the grace that flowed from our Savior's wounds is for you, and for me.

   Finally, "thee."  We return to the personal.  For you, and for me.  Our Heavenly Father is so personally attentive to us that He numbers the hairs of our heads (Matthew 10:30).  Think of it.  If you could do so, would you?  Not likely.  Few of us would care enough to keep a running tally concerning such apparent insignificance.  Our Father can, however, and He does. Thus, He is more interested in us than we are interested in ourselves.  Moreover, He is lovingly interested with an ardor and devotion that would burst our hearts if more than a modicum of its infinite measure became known to us.  "He hath set His love upon me" (Psalm 91:14).  Do not fail to absorb and apply David's personal testimony to yourself.  "Thee."  For you, and for me.

    "My grace is sufficient for thee."  This may constitute the greatest understatement of all time.  More importantly, it speaks of our particular thorn, and of the grace God offers with it.  May we avail ourselves of this freest of all gifts that came to us by the most expensive of all costs.  

"Our sufficiency is of God."
(II Corinthians 3:5)
"They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ."
(Romans 5:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
(John 7:24)

No comments: