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I spend a lot of time pondering grace and particularly love the verse “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”(2 Cor 12:9) At least (if I’m honest), I love the first part of the verse. I’m not quite so keen on the second part…
In our current situation, people are finding the helplessness they feel in this situation difficult to live with. We are used to being proactive and the idea that self-isolation and staying at home can actually help seems utterly counter-intuitive to us. Most of us worry if we can live like this for three weeks and then worry it might be longer than three weeks… and so the cycle of anxiety, lack of control and panic ties us up in knots.
A long time ago I remember being in a similar situation, lost in a hypothetical world of anxiety, ‘what ifs?’ and uncontrollable scenarios. This is the only time I’ve really heard God speaking to me in a way that was almost audible: He said to me, ‘there is no such thing as hypothetical grace.‘ That pulled me up short. I believed firmly in God’s all-sufficient grace, and yet I was living in tension, anxiety and gut-churning worry and wondering why the peace of God that passes all understanding was nowhere to be found. I was wanting hypothetical grace.
Shortly after this, the ‘worst-case scenario’ happened: my mother, aged only 61, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and I had to face the prospect of losing someone so very dear and precious to me. Somewhat to my naive surprise, I found not hypothetical grace, but real grace. I found I was carried by God through those months before her death – and after her death, I was carried even more. God worked in ways I can’t begin to describe. His grace is sufficient for us.
But His power is made perfect in weakness. When we feel helpless and hopeless, that’s when God’s grace and power can be seen and felt. So maybe today, if you’re feeling a bit swamped by everything, take heart. God’s all-sufficient grace is there for you. Lay aside the hypothetical stuff and get hold of the real thing.