Day 39

Sufficient Grace

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan

2 Corinthians 12:1-21, Mark 14:32-36, Philippians 4:10-13

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-21, Mark 14:32-36, Philippians 4:10-13

It was just a common cold, then an infection, and then another infection from the antibiotics the doctors had given me to fight the first infection. Then, after being in bed for a week, my lower back started to hurt. To add insult to injury, I cracked one of my molars on a seed in my bread, and ended up having to get a root canal. For four weeks it was one thing after another. I don’t get sick often, so this debilitating month was like an object lesson in the absolute frailty of my body. Nothing was really related to anything else; it was just a perfect cluster of unfortunate events all smashed up against one another.

I don’t know about you, but I can manage a simple cold. I can even manage a tweaked back. But when all the world seems to conspire against me when I simply get out of bed, eat anything harder than yogurt, or I’m on my third round of antibiotics in a month—well, I begin to despair. In that moment, I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be well, let alone remember what it felt like to be cheerful or whole or able to manage anything. I felt like a walking mistake.

Have you ever felt like that?

Maybe it’s not physical for you; maybe it’s emotional. Or maybe it is physical, but to an extent that makes my month of maladies seem like a walk in the park. Perhaps it’s mental or spiritual—I don’t know. But I do know that sometimes God’s grace does not feel sufficient for my weakness. Nothing about me, or Him for that matter, seems sufficient in days and weeks and months like these.

Yet, in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul lists the weaknesses in which he finds contentment: insults, hardships, persecution, and calamities, not to mention the thorn in his flesh God hasn’t removed. Paul is not saying these things don’t exist or that they aren’t hard. He isn’t putting on a brave face or being courageous in the midst of difficulty. He’s not even saying it’s okay to simply accept the thorn as it is. No, he begs God to remove it. But, in the midst of all this very real pain and difficulty, Paul’s contentment is not in his ability to weather the storm, bear the pain, or be brave. His contentment is in the sufficiency of God’s grace.

When I’m struggling with anything, I want to find contentment in God’s sovereign ability to change everything in an instant, to heal what is broken right now, to right what is wrong. What I don’t want to be contented with is simply walking through the difficulty—be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—in the knowledge that His grace is sufficient, that He is bearing this with me, and He hears me. And even if He hasn’t answered my prayer according to my wishes, He is still sufficient for me in my weakness, emptiness, pain, and sorrow.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians in this passage remind me that sometimes God doesn’t change our circumstances, not one bit. But He does change our hearts in the midst of everything, making us more like Him. Jesus’ words to Paul and to the Corinthians are a promise to us as well:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9


Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

Post Comments (67)

67 thoughts on "Sufficient Grace"

  1. Deborah Craytor says:

    Thank you all for your testimony today. My daughter is really struggling right now with why God allowed her to have the disabilities she has; I’ve forwarded the link to today’s discussion to her and believe that she will be uplifted by each of you.

  2. Audren B. says:

    God, please change my heart. i feel like i can’t do anything right and that grace applies to everyone else but myself, and when i do make a mistake that it is unforgivable. This isn’t logical or true, but i guess your grace and mercy aren’t logical either. Help me and us all to understand Your grace is absolutely drowning us and there is NOTHING that can deprive us of any and all grace, peace, joy, and Your overwhelming love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    1. Kayla says:

      I am praying for you, Audren. Satan tells us lies to keep us from pursuing the Lord, and they can be so believable, even when we know they aren’t logical or true! Cling to the truth that nothing separates us from the love of God!! He is faithful and just to forgive our sins if we confess!

  3. Kelly Hock says:

    Many times in my life I have felt God change my heart to prepare me for something bigger and better… it was the heart that changed when we were called to a town for ministry… this town was my home town and I was confident that God would want us there forever… but as of recently I have been having the desire to not live here any longer. I have no real reason to have this desire. My family is here my friends are here but yet my heart is very open to a new town … what is God doing now… I don’t know but sometimes the waiting to see is hard… but I still wait and enjoy the time I have in this current place.

  4. Jen says:

    Thank you SRT for explaining passages to me that confused me. 2 weeks ago 2 Corinthians 12 was read at my church. I asked the gal beside me ” what is the 3rd heaven?” I knew this week we would be reading this passage in our study and was excited I would get a chance to ask for help with this. And I got the answer without having to ask. Thank you SRT! In addition, I didn’t realize that it was Paul talking about himself ! Makes such a difference when you know what is being said? Thankful for seekers and followers guiding and encouraging other saints. All the praise to God, may the power of Christ continue to work in us all.

    1. Deborah Craytor says:

      Warren Wiersbe offers this explanation: “The third heaven is the same as ‘paradise,’ the
      heaven of heavens where God dwells in glory. Thanks to modern science, men
      today have visited the heaven of the clouds (we fly above the clouds) and the heav-
      en of the planets (men have walked on the moon), but man cannot get to God’s
      heaven without God’s help.”

      1. Jen says:

        Thanks Deborah! I didn’t know the Bible spoke of this. And I only thought of it as the earth, sky and heaven.

  5. Jennifer Martin says:

    Amen ❤️

  6. Katie Dunham says:

    I just got home a few days ago from being at the hospital for a little over 5 weeks getting treated for Leukemia. I often did despair because all I wanted was to be home with my family and to be done getting treated, to be healed. I was supposed to go home earlier but there were little things that kept me in the hospital. It was so hard for me to trust God when it didn’t seem like he was answering me, and still is hard sometimes with all the further treatment I am going to go through. This was exactly what I needed to read today. He doesn’t want to see me in pain, but it does bring me closer to Him. He knows what He’s doing and He knows my body better than I do. When I look back on this experience so far, I can see where He has been in it. He has provided for me in so many ways. He is good. No matter how I feel. ❤️

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Katie, thanks for sharing this. We’re praying for you during this time -for comfort, peace, and healing. So grateful that you’re here reading along with us. -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. Carol Pierce says:

      Amen! Praying for you! You will be healed by God’s intervention, or the treatments the doctors are administering or when He chooses to call you home. Cancer never wins when we belong to Christ!

    3. Ogechi Umeh says:

      God is in control and He is with you even when you can’t see it. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Be still and know that He is God.

    4. Jessie Chatigny says:

      Cancer treatment is no joke. Lifting you and your support people up right.

  7. Nicholle D says:

    We did that one back in June, too. I woke up singing the theme song in my head this morning.

  8. Kristine Loughman says:

    As I gear up to head into a new school year in a few weeks, this is such a good reminder that He goes with me, He already knows the plan, I can rest in Him. HE is sufficient for ME! Now, to hold onto that knowledge as the back to school roller coaster gears up…

    1. Kari says:

      Agreed Kristine! Preparing for back to school as well and I love that you related this to that. Something to save and remember this semester. Prayers for you as we get back into it!

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