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His Grace is Enough

Karen Stefacek, Children’s Pastor

Ever double-booked yourself? I did. I was twenty-something, full of energy and passion for life, for ministry, and for whatever God had in mind. That January I was invited to be a bridesmaid and to sing in a dear friend’s wedding. Of course I said yes. Then, in March, we confirmed the dates of our summer children’s outreach at church.  It had been penciled in the year before. Of course I said yes; I was in charge.

Not until these summer events were drawing near did it cross my mind that there might be a problem. The big week arrived!

All day every day, from Monday through Friday, I was with kids and leaders.  I was speaking...leading worship...directing activities....judging contests...having a blast. Everyone was looking forward to Parent's Night on Friday, when the kids would serve their parents a meal and share what they learned through human videos (acting out songs).

My friend's wedding was Saturday, but the rehearsal/dinner? Of course it was that Friday night. You get the picture. It wasn't that the schedule couldn't work. The kid's outreach ended at 4pm Friday, rehearsal would start at 5pm followed by dinner at 6pm, then I'd be back for Parent's Night at 7pm. The problem was my voice.

Early in the week, I began to ask God for help. I'd go home happy, tired and voiceless after being with the kids all day. But I wondered if I would be able to sing on Saturday.  I was familiar with Paul's experience with God's grace from 2 Corinthians 12. In my reaching to God for help, I zeroed in on the idea of sufficiency in a way I had never really done before.  

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Paul's challenge was pretty dire.  He had a "thorn in his flesh" that, from his perspective, impacted his life and ministry negatively. So he asked God to take it away. Three times. He seriously wanted it removed. Verse 9 was God's answer: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

My challenge was not so dire, but it was important to me. So I thought and prayed about the sufficiency of God's grace, and found myself crying out each day for more grace.  Isn't that the very definition of sufficient? It's enough, always enough, to meet the need. When I need a little grace, that's what God provides. When I need a lot more, God provides more.

That week I discovered, in a very personal way, that the grace of God is expandable. It grows to meet my need.  On Monday, my need for grace seemed real but minimal. By Friday, my need for grace seemed huge. Each day my voice was more strained. Each day I asked for more grace and, each day, God met me and my voice recovered in time for what came next.

When I went to bed on Friday night, I wondered what the morning would hold. I had no voice at all. Saturday morning arrived and the wedding was beautiful.  God was good and all who had a part--including me--were able to speak and sing with strength, blessing my friend, her family and guests.

That early encounter with the sufficient grace of God has continued to shape me over the years. He walked me through what it felt like to be weak, and to see his power at work. When life presents me with greater challenges, hurts and hurdles, my natural response of fear is tempered by an inner knowing that God loves to demonstrate his strength in my weaknesses.
Paul lands on a powerful attitude about his life and ministry. God does not take away the thorn, the challenge he faced, but assures him that his grace will be enough. Paul responds in verses 9 and 10:

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that 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.

We need not fear or resist those things in us or around us that make us feel weak. We can instead receive and trust in God's sufficient grace and experience the power of God showing up to do what only he can do!

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