"Efficient Or Sufficient?"
Sometimes when we seek God in our pains, difficulties and challenges, He administers "efficient" grace, that is, He obviously answers our prayers in the manner we desire and expect.
"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6).
At other times, we seek God in our challenges and He administers "sufficient" grace. The Apostle Paul experienced this form of Divine response when he suffered a "thorn in the flesh" (II Corinthians 12:7).
"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:9).
Presently, we desire the former means of God's deliverance. There is nothing wrong with desiring to be saved from our troubles, and we rightly rejoice when the Lord's purposes allow for obvious provision and deliverance. However, when our Heavenly Father must stay His hand, allowing trials to continue, the long term benefit may greatly surpass the blessing of quick salvation from our troubles. Paul was kept humble by the enduring thorn, thus enabling the continued ministry to others that requires humility before God and people. He also doubtless discovered glories of the Lord's heart that cannot be known in the pleasant times of life. We must consider as well that had God quickly plucked the Apostle's thorn, his particular testimony of sufficient grace would not exist on the pages of Scripture. We would not know nearly as well the truth of Divine strength as made perfect in weakness, nor the reality that in our presently existence, lingering thorns are accompanied by the "very present help" of God that often reveals His greatness far more than thorns removed (Psalm 46:1).
Efficient or sufficient. Our Heavenly Father works in both manners of grace to glorify His Son, benefit us, and prepare us for ministry to others. We trust and honor Him regarding both aspects of His perfect way in our lives, rejoicing in the power of His hand discovered in times of obvious deliverance, and the nearness of His heart when He must allow our thorns to remain for greater revelations of His glory.
"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
(II Corinthians 12:9-10)
Weekly Memory Verse
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
(I Timothy 2:1-2)