God’s grace is so wonderful.  First, it is the avenue of our salvation.  But it goes so much deeper.  God continually affords grace to us so that we can, in turn, share grace to others.  Grace also empowers us to live beyond ourselves so that we can offer grace to those who hurt us or defame us.  Further, grace frees us from our incapability and allows us to soar in Him and become leaders in our families, our workplaces and our communities.

Today, I would like to briefly focus on another great element of grace.  To do so, let’s look at a great Bible passage, II Corinthians 12:9, which reads, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

My dad used to say something about the troubles life often brings.  He said, “You’re either in the midst of trouble, you just came out of trouble, or you’re going to get the phone call this afternoon.”  No matter who we are, storms of life will come.  As a pastor, I can tell you that even Christians sometimes struggle when life gets tough.  I’ve had people tell me that God has turned their back on them.  But He has not and He will not.

You know, the Apostle Paul had a “thorn” in his life, an issue that tended to trip him up and cause him to plead with God to take it away.  We all have them: temptations, doubts, weaknesses, illness, family strife, marital issues, and the list goes on.  But God’s grace is there.  It is the fountain that never ends.  The key is not letting those “thorns” tear us down; we have to learn to navigate life through the times of thorny peril.  We can do this because God’s grace is indeed sufficient.

I want to tell you that it’s ok to be broken by trials.  That’s when we need God’s grace the most.  And you know what else we need?  We need godly friends.  That’s why we go to church — to build up friendships that help to see us through tough times.  God’s grace is often afforded through the friendships of mature Christians who can love us (sometimes with “tough love”) through times of trial.

Now, here’s the tough part of this column: the trial, the “thorn” you may be experiencing today may just never go away.  God did not remove Paul’s thorn, but that is because God offers something else — something better.  It is His grace that is sufficient, that is “made perfect” in our weakness.  The power of God is made complete, you see, when we are at our weakest point.  Like a helpless baby, we need Him and His righteous, holy grace.

Don’t ignore or forget God’s promise that He is enough, friend.  You may have a storm in life that you never get over or that lasts for a long time, but God wants to see you through it in amazing ways.  God’s grace is sufficient.  It saw me through my father’s death and my sudden selection to be pastor of this historic church, even though I was unprepared for such a task.  He was ready.  And that’s what matters.

I’ll close with this very special passage, II Corinthians 12:9b-10, where Paul writes, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  In Christ, we have a Defender and a Protector who is always there.  We can find comfort outside of ourselves by giving it all to Jesus.

I pray that you can find peace in the midst of the storm today.  Romans 8 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Never forget that He is there, wanting to impact your life in ways that only He can.