Sufficient Grace

When trials come, it is easy to default to the “O Lord get me out of this mess,” sort of posture. It is an automatic response to want difficulty to go away. However, God does not see the struggles the same way that we do. Rather than a chance of us being pulled under, He sees struggles as an opportunity for His strength to be shown. Paul, who had some sort of ongoing affliction, asked the Lord to take it away. Three times He asked God to take it away, and alas, God did not. “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.” – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Though Paul’s initial request was for the Lord to take the affliction, the very struggle that hindered him away; when the Lord answered him, Paul’s perspective shifted. What he had viewed as a hindrance, he began to see as an opportunity to show the Lord’s strength. Once he recognized that it was only by God’s grace that he could do anything that the Lord was asking, he was empowered to embrace his weaknesses as opportunities for Christ’s strength to shine.

 

The challenge is how are we to do this practically? I have seen brilliant examples, as faithful warriors press on and pursue all that God has for them, despite the obstacles that life throws their way. Their resolve is deep-rooted in a firmly established relationship with the Father. Each of them fix their eyes and hearts securely on Him, and trust in His unwavering faithfulness. We are called to press in and persevere, regardless of what comes our way. As our roots run deep, His strength becomes more evident, even when we are weak.

 

We’re all in a boat,Sufficient Grace

somewhere off the shore;

some simply adrift,

while others want more.

Some paddle, pursue,

a course set afar;

and some are content,

to float where they are.

Both will endure waves,

and boats will be rocked;

one self-sufficient,

and one faith unlocked.

Both will come to know,

their own sense of need;

one calls on the Lord,

allowing Him lead.

For in our weakness,

His strength clearly shows;

may we boast in Christ,

as we daily grow.

May His power rest,

so powerfully;

that all who draw near,

will see Christ in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need to get through our greatest challenges. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that You utilize every challenge as an opportunity to grow us in Your grace, and make Your presence and power known. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are not enough to carry us when we are unable to stand. Give us wisdom to know when to ask for You to remove something and when to have Your strength come and carry us. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we are completely aware of Your will in all things and at all times. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the power and presence that is available through the gift of Your grace. Be glorified as we go forth today, and be the strength of our lives. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

For Our Freedom

Today, many of us are blessed with an extra day off.  The intent of this day is that we might honor veterans, both those whom have served, and those who are still serving.  An automatic response of mine, anytime there is such a day, is to make some sort of personal connection so that the day is more meaningful.  My mind instantly drifts to images of my late grandfather.  Though he is no longer with us, he was an incredible example of one who was willing to lay down his life for the good of his country, family, and friends.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army, and then went on to serve as a prison guard at one of the toughest penitentiaries on the West Coast.  Despite his ability to command the respect of men, he was tender, gentle and kind with his grandkids and loved ones.

Several of my former students have also gone on to serve in our armed forces.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices that so many men and women are willing to make, in order to preserve the freedoms we know and love.  As I read in I Corinthians this morning, the following verse is lived out daily, by those who serve: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” – (I Corinthians 10:24)  May we listen for His voice, so that we too, may know how He would have us seek the good of others.

For freedom they fight,

so we may enjoy;

all that we now know,

our rights to employ.

This freedom’s not free,

cost much sacrifice;

time, blood, sweat and tears,

oft ultimate price.

Take not for granted,

these freedoms we know;

remember the cost,

and gratitude show.

Thank you all soldiers,

and those who support;

today we honor,

come close and consort.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have answered the call to protect our country, near and far.  Please protect every service member, and help them to know how very near You are.  May each veteran and serving soldier feel honored today, and may we as a nation, be more supportive of our troops.  Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted, and help us to do whatever You call us to, to honor and support those who are serving our country, and their families that are left behind.  Teach us how to trust You more, so that we may love like You in all things and at all times.  May the love that we show lead many to a lasting relationship with You.  Above all, be glorified through our every action.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.