June 25, 2008

Is God's Grace Sufficient?















My life is hard. (Actually it isn't mine, but God's who bought me by the precious blood of His dear Son). My life is His, I am in His hands, He works all things together for my good in Christ. That doesn't mean it's easy. I'm 24 years old, single, working full time, driving two hours a day in traffic, still adjusting to being back at home with my growing family. My life isn't getting easier. Neither are the lives of those closest to me. Without going into detail, I'll just say, it is hard also for my nearest and dearest. In fact, the hard times I was having a few years ago, when I was 20, 21, 22, 23, seem light and momentary to me now.

Should I be complaining though? If trials were difficult back then, but seem to be almost nothing now, what then will they be like tomorrow? Or a year from now? Or possibly 40 years from now? God purposes such things ultimately for our joy and His glory. Paul was told His weaknesses were all about grace. Listen to what Jesus told him at one of his weakest points in life:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV).

Only grace can sustain a weakened soul. Christ is sufficient. Don't lose heart, but rather rejoice, because "this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV).

Our trials, difficulties and hardships are all for the mighty power of God's grace to be manifested in us through Christ. If you are not resting in Christ as your all in all, your trials may be to move you toward Him. If you reject Christ, all I can say is that you reject the only source of comfort and salvation. Christ is glorified in us, when we are satisfied in Him. May His grace extend to you, and may grace and peace and mercy be multiplied to all those resting in His steadfast love forever.

12 comments:

Sarah L. said...

Here is, perhaps, my favorite Spurgeon quote. It is directed at Pastors, but I still find it comforting:

“By all the castings down of His servants God is glorified, for they are led to magnify Him when He sets them on their feet, and even while prostrate in the dust their faith yields Him praise. They speak all the more sweetly of His faithfulness, and are the more firmly established in His love. Such mature men as some elderly preachers are, could scarcely have been produced if they had not been emptied from vessel to vessel, and made to see their own emptiness and the vanity of all things round about them. Glory be to God for the furnace, the hammer, and the file. Heaven shall be all the fuller of bliss because we have been filled with anguish here below, and earth shall be better tilled because of our training in the school of adversity.

The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of the ordinary ministerial experience. Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not His saints. Live by the day – ay, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the needs of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook Him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide. Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or foul, the pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to trust under the shadow of His wings.”

cj said...

As Piper says, "We only have one lifetime to suffer." Great post!

-cj

Penn Tomassetti said...

Sarah: Thank you so much for that amazing quote from Spurgeon! I never read that one before. A friend of mine, who has been suffering himself right now, used to shove Spurgeon sermons in my face when I was only 21 years old. I never heard of him before that, but those sermons helped to transform my life by the grace of God. That was sincerely encouraging.

CJ: Glad to hear from you! Piper is another famous pastor who has influenced my life deeply, especially in understanding the Sovereignty of God in our suffering. Paul said, "that I may know [Christ] and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings."

Ashley said...

You know what I think of. Piper's thought that he repeats millions of times in like every book he writes. "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I think a part of being satisfied in God means to be completely dependent on Him as well. So in our times of valleys rather than mountians, we should still seek to glorify Him. What must we do to glorify Him in these times? We believe His grace is sufficient. How do we know this? Because He said so, and what a comfort it is!

Kaysie said...

Great comforting thoughts. I will lift up a prayer for you to have a refreshment of this knowledge each morning. Yes, God's grace is sufficient!

Kaysie

Angela said...

Good song on You Tube I just found yesterday via someone's comment-Jeff Johnson, - From the Inside Out.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Ashley: Thank you for commenting. You are absolutely right that being satisfied in God includes being totally dependent upon Him. I agree.

Kaysie: Thank you so much for the prayer. And again, I like your answer!

Angela: Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to check that song. Thank you.

Stephanie said...

Very timely for me right now. Being refined by trials is never pleasant, but it's necessary.

quillandinkwell said...

Hi Penn,
Thanks for referring me to your post here. It certainly ties in with "Walking Through the Fire". It is the same with me, that the trials I face now seem more intense than any I have faced before. I can only find comfort in Christ, and in knowing that He has allowed these trials to increase my faith. And I know He is increasing yours as well.

There is a song that has helped me as well; strange as that may be, a song -- but you might enjoy listening to it. It is called "A Living Prayer" by Allison Krauss.

God Bless, and stay strong!
Phylicia

Penn Tomassetti said...

Phylicia,

Thanks for your comment and for the song. Rejoicing in all circumstances!

Penn

Anonymous said...

Lamentations 3
27It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Anonymous,
Amen, thanks!!