Grace is sufficient as power is made perfect in weakness

Have you ever heard the voice of God speaking to you?

The first thing that comes to my mind are all the murderers who declared that God told them to commit their crimes.

What are some of the criteria that identifies God’s voice, or my conscience/inner self or remembering a voice from the past, like my parents, teacher or friend?

One thing I am sure of – is that if you are in the habit of talking with God, and you are in the habit of hearing that still small voice and if you are in the habit of confirming that what that still small voice says is never straying from the character of who God is – then in all likelihood you are hearing the voice of God conversing back to you.

It is in one of these moments of conversation with God, where a man, a man who knew God and spoke to Him often, asked God for something, and I believe he asked in good faith, yet instead of receiving what he asked for, he was given grace to support him.

I love this example of answered prayer that was not really answered to expectation or desire.  This example helped me through many a childhood nightmare as I asked God to change my physical appearance, kill my dad, transport me to a different country etc.

I am so glad that he did not answer my prayer literally, as disappointed or disheartened I might have been because they were not at the time.

Here are some reason why:

(1) The grace that will be imparted if the calamity is not removed will be of greater value than would be the direct answer to the prayer request.  The removal of the calamity might be apparently a blessing, but it might also be attended with danger to our spiritual welfare; the grace imparted may be of permanent value and may be connected with the development of some of the loveliest traits of Christian character.

(2) it might not be for the good of the requestor that the exact thing should be granted.

(3) God has often some better thing in store for us than would be the immediate answer to our prayer.    The promised grace of Christ as sufficient to support us is of more value than would be the mere removal of any bodily affliction.

(4) it would not be well for us, probably, should our petition be literally answered. Who can tell what is best for themself? If the thing were obtained, who can tell how soon we might forget the benefactor and become proud and self-confident?  This could be much better accomplished by continuing affliction and by imparting the promised grace, than by withdrawing the affliction and withholding the grace. The very thing to be done was to keep us humble; and this affliction could not be withdrawn without also foregoing the benefit.

What does all this grace leave us with?

God’s strength is more commonly and more completely manifested in people who feel that they are weak. It is not imparted to those who feel that they are strong and who do not realize their need of divine aid. It is not so completely manifested to those who are vigorous and strong as to the feeble. It is when we are conscious that we are feeble, and when we feel our need of aid, that the Redeemer manifests His power to support and hold us.

Grotius has collected several similar passages from the classic writers which may serve to illustrate this expression.

Pliny, vii. Epis. 26, says, “We are best where we are weak.” Seneca says, “Calamity is the occasion of virtue.” Quintilian, “All temerity of mind is broken by bodily calamity.” Minutius Felix, “Calamity is often the discipline of virtue.” There are few Christians who cannot bear witness to the truth and who have not experienced the most amazing comfort through God’s presence and power in times of affliction.

Most gladly, therefore … – I count it a privilege to be afflicted, if my trials may be the means of my more abundantly enjoying the favor of the Redeemer. His presence and imparted strength are more than a compensation for all the trials that I endure.

That the power of Christ – The strength which Christ imparts; His power manifested in supporting me in trials.

Is that a crude statement?

I think this is what we learn when we see the power of Christ manifested in those lives that are resting in the arms of grace, rejoicing in afflictions and receiving strength each day to make it through each day, by holding the right hand of God.  Hence, learn:

(1) That a Christian never loses anything by suffering and affliction. If we may obtain the favor of Christ by His trials, we are a gainer. The favor of the Redeemer is more than a compensation for all that we endure in His cause.

(2) the Christian is a gainer by trial. I never knew a Christian that was not ultimately benefitted by trials. I never knew one who did not find that they had gained much that was valuable to them in scenes of affliction. I do not know that I have found one who would be willing to exchange the advantages they had gained in affliction for all that the most uninterrupted prosperity and the highest honors that the world could give would impart.

(3) learn to bear trials with joy. They are good for us. They develop some of the most lovely traits of character. They injure no one if they are properly received. And a Christian should rejoice that they may obtain what they do obtain in affliction, cost what it may. It is worth more than it costs; and when we come to die, the things that we shall have most occasion to thank God for will be our afflictions.

You might enjoy this blog as you discover how individuals with chronic pain make it through each day, walking with Jesus.

and listen to this song as you discover more —

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