God Is Enough!
This week I celebrated another birthday – my 63rd, to be specific. And I found myself thinking about those years and all the changes I’ve witnessed. I was born in 1952. People in the early 50’s were reeling from the horrors of World War II and facing the new fears of the Cold War as the ideologies of capitalism and communism fiercely clashed. There were fears of atomic and nuclear warfare that if unleashed would destroy our world. As a child I can remember hearing about fallout shelters, participating in duck and cover drills, and hearing air raid test sirens.
But also in the 1950’s, the polio vaccine was created and given to children in a massive trial. Segregation was ruled illegal in the United States. DNA was discovered and the Soviets launched the space age with the Satellite Sputnik. And, lest we forget, the 50’s also saw the first “Peanuts” comic strip, the opening of the first McDonald’s, the launch of Disneyland, and the opening of the Sound of Music on Broadway.
As I thought about the world I knew as a child and the world I know today, I found myself recalling Ecclesiastes 1:9: “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Today, I bemoan the fearful world we live in – the increased acts of terrorism, our fragile economic system, frightening new epidemics, and the challenges of unparalleled technological advances that have markedly changed the way we communicate, do business, and live. Yet, I tend to forget that the world I knew as a child was also a fearful, unpredictable place.
As a child, however, I was probably fairly oblivious to all those news items that may have perplexed and worried my parents. I‘m almost certain that I was more aware of the opening of the first McDonald’s where I lived than any of the more serious news items. You see, if something frightened me, I went to my parents. If I was worried about something, I went to my parents. My childlike faith believed that they could handle and do anything. I had no reason to fear.
Now, all of these years later, I realize that while my parents may not have had that kind of ability, there is still someone I can go to with all my fears and worries – and He is enough. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 that he had pleaded with God to remove a “thorn in the flesh.” Paul relayed: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). God’s grace is sufficient for whatever we need. While Paul’s thorn was not removed, he still gladly proclaimed: “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b).
Paul had discovered that no matter his need or his weakness, God’s grace was sufficient. But how? How does God’s grace make a difference in my pain, my suffering, my loss, my need? Simply defined, grace as used in the New Testament focuses on salvation. It has been defined in the acrostic – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Grace is God reaching out to man, to reconcile us to Himself. When we accept what Christ did for us, we receive grace and full access to the very riches of God. Among these riches are the following.
- Access to God
We can go to God with any worry, problem, or fear just as a child, I ran to my parents.
“ Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
- God’s Presence
We are never alone. God is always with us.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
- God’s Help
God will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us whatever our need.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- God’s Comfort
We do not suffer alone.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
- God’s Peace
We can have God’s peace even in the midst of a troubled world because of the hope we have in Him.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27)
Paul recognized that God’s grace was enough. Like Paul, we too can discover that when we are at our weakest, God’s strength is perfect. When we are all alone, afraid, filled with sorrow, troubled, worried, betrayed, ignored, misunderstood, hungry, tired, penniless, hurting, _________ (you fill in the blank). God’s grace is sufficient as we trust our need to Him. Yes, my friend, God is enough! In fact, He is more than enough!
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”