For years I viewed God’s grace as being when God grants unmerited favour to those who do not deserve it, or specifically, when God grants the gift of salvation to undeserving sinners.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Below are the lyrics of a song that I sang to the Lord countless times during my private praise and worship times:
Your grace is sufficient for me, and I’m loving You, more and more.
Your face is all I want to see, and I’m loving You, more and more.
When I behold You in the word, I learn to walk in victory,
I know that when I’m weak You’ll make me strong.
If I’m about to fall, I know your hands are always there.
Jesus, I love You more and more.
By Ps Tom Rawls, Gary Houston, 1986?
(Note, the chord charts for this song is at the bottom of this post.)
When I went on an eight-day missionary orientation trip to Thailand in late 1989, one of my fondest memories was of playing this song on the piano in a Bangkok Bible college.
The song is inspired by 2 Cor 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you.”
When I became severely depressed at the end of 1989, I found that when I sang this song, my exhausted, nervously ill mind completely misunderstood what 2 Cor 12:8-10 teaches. Unable to reason, I thought that this verse was God saying to me, “My unmerited favour, specifically your salvation, is all you need to get through this.” To this I responded disappointedly, “No, it is not enough! This suffering I am going through defies comprehension, I need more than that to get through this living nightmare! I need Your help, Your strength, Your healing!” But I truly feared that these things were not coming. (Little did I realise at the time that He had been strengthening me throughout the ordeal.)
However, I eventually learnt that God’s grace is far more than granting the gift of salvation to undeserving sinners. Let us have a look at the rest of 2 Cor 12:8-10 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 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.
Now in reading this, perhaps we are wondering, what has Christ’s power, or strength, got to do with grace? The answer is that it has everything to do with God’s grace. Let us take a journey through God’s word, and we will see what God’s grace actually gives us. I was surprised when I learnt this.
It is from His grace that God pours His blessings upon us. John 1:16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
It is through His grace that Christ gives us His divine power and strength to deal with any trial, and His strength is SO much better than our own! This is how the Amplified Bible presents 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).
Also, grace is not something we receive just the once when we receive His gift of salvation, it is available in abundance! Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
More proof of the boundless abundance of God’s grace is seen in Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Also in 1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
We receive Christ’s eternal riches from His grace. 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
In fact, everything we need to succeed in our walk with Christ and do good works comes from God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Now I understood why Jesus told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Because Christ’s grace is the vehicle by which He gives us whatever we need to get through that trial, to resist a temptation, to overcome an obstacle. When we are weak, He gives us His power, when we are poor He gives us riches. ‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.’ 2 Timothy 2:1. Through His grace He also gives us salvation, favour, loving-kindness, mercy and all of His blessings.
While in the pits of depression, we fear the suffering will never end.
From my diary, 12th April 1990 –
I keep seeing this going on forever,
I can see two years gone by, and I’ve still go no peace,
It is like insomnia. When the sun comes up,
And you’re still awake, you realise you’ve been robbed.
But I was wrong - my fears were unfounded - I did recover from depression. God’s word is true when it says in 1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
All verses from NIV unless noted otherwise.
Chord charts and lyrics for 'Your Grace is Sufficient for Me.'