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. KC Derond says:

    Sometimes I feel lousy for always asking God to change my circumstances, but then I read a passage like the one in Mark where even Jesus Himself prayed that His circumstances be changed! The difference being that I forget to add that it be done according to God’s will, not mine. That’s the part I struggle with. May we remember to pray that our hearts and attitudes be changed according to our situations!

  2. Susan Crosby says:

    I have experienced several family issues in the past several years. I have been reminded over and over that when things don’t go as we’d planned or hoped that God is always with me whether I am feeling quite confident in my unwavering faith or if my constant prayer is Lord I Need Grace To Make It. Today’s study was exceptional and a reminder that God’s Grace is sufficient for me!

  3. Amy says:

    I loved this. It’s a truth that is much harder to grasp than I think most of us would anticipate. This past November I was hospitalized for what we found to be numerous blood clots in my lungs. It all happened very quickly; I remember waking up on a Wednesday feeling like I had slept wrong, and then two days later being rushed to the emergency room because I couldn’t breathe. And all the while I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to take the pain away and heal me. When we found out my life was at risk I was so overcome with anger. I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t heal me. But now, months later, I’ve been able to see what God was doing. When they told me I might die, I remember being absolutely terrified. I wasn’t ready to die. And I’ve ALWAYS been the one to say that I’m not afraid to die because I know where I’m going. But yet, there I was, facing death and not feeling ready. At all. It wasn’t until very recently that I’ve begun to see what God was doing in me. Because for months, all I could feel was anger and confusion and doubt. Now though, I can see that God provided for me in ways I didn’t know I needed. I had come to a place of not knowing God like I thought I did, to where I was terrified to die. I had such a stubborn heart that it took me facing the reality of death, for God to reach my heart. Because even though I went through a lot of pain, God still delivered me. And he taught me so much more than I could see in the moment. He heard my cry. He’s made me more like Him. He’s awoken me from a sleep that I was blinded to. My heart has been humbled and my perspective entirely changed. His love and grace are sufficient and it surpasses any understanding I could ever have. In one of my weakest moments of life, He saved me. My body was broken and very quickly breaking down, and he took the time to nurture my soul through it and bring me back to life. He gave it all for me and continues to give it all for me everyday.
    This post was so encouraging as I’m still processing all this. Such powerful truth. Thank you for sharing!

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Amy, thank you for sharing this with us. We’ll be praying for continued encouragement and comfort during this time. We’re so glad that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. Clare says:

      Hi Amy, I’m almost certain you won’t see this as I’m a few days behind. Thank you for sharing this, it’s so helpful. I’m facing scans at the moment for cancer, I’m 42 and have 2 young children… It’s so helpful to see what you have written after coming through the fear and pain. It’s certainly one thing to ‘know in your head’ that Christ is all in all and another thing when you are faced with a a scary diagnosis. I will be praying for you as you walk this one out, but your story so far has encouraged me – thank you x

    3. Rhonda Cottrell says:

      Your testimony is so encouraging! Thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. Shannon Hernandez says:

    I’ve carried anxiety since i was 8 years old and it has only gotten worse and ive gotten older making me feel like i have failed at letting God overcome my deepest worries and fears. But when many of those worries and fears are realities of this life or have become a reality, it truly is traumatizing. And then recently (the past 9 months) ive been dealing with some physical stomach issues and add other things in top of it and i just feel like a “walking mistake” Or just a wreck that is not very attractive. But God has placed some amazing young ladies in my life to show unconditional love and support. And they have prayed with and for me and have become amazing friends and more, a representation of Christ’s love for me. What a blessing! And as the potter of our lives, He will make us beautiful, as those who know Jesus as Lord, we have a hope secure that we will one day be completely sanctified and glorified with Christ. Thankful for His grace through all of life’s struggles and blessings. Glory to our God ❤️

  5. Brittany says:

    I know exactly what that’s like. I have been battling anxiety for the past nine eleven months. When it started I could hardly eat anything, because I was too anxious. So….. The past five months I have been working on fighting my anxiety, which is a slow battle, but it’s happening and should not be too much longer. I also have had to eat like a horse, to get my ravenous appetite back to the normal three meals a day and snack. I also have felt impatience over this long recovery process.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Thanks for sharing Brittany. Our team will definitely be praying for you as you walk through this time, that you will find encouragement, peace, and direction as you trust in what God has for you. So grateful for you! -Margot, The SRT Team

  6. Rebecca says:

    This post was incredible! I am going through a season that looks a little bit uncertain, but instead of trying to figure out HOW, I’ll shift the letters and focus on my WHO. I don’t need to know everything right away, and following Christ is not always instant. Instant gratification can ruin relationships w God, becuase what do we do when God isn’t changing things right away? Learning about the thorn in Paul’s side is so encouraging, because like you, he learned to go through the trial, and let God’s perfect work take place so that we lack no good thing (James 1:4) Thank you so much for this post!!

    1. Kristine Loughman says:

      Not HOW but WHO! Love this! What a great reminder when I’m feeling underwater.

  7. Tara Gordon says:

    Amazing reading for me today. My 15 year old son was involved in a car accident March 2nd. We were called by a Sherriff’s deputy that they were life flighting him- head trauma and unresponsive. I prayed so hard on our way to the hospital over and over “God you know what I can handle. Please Lord don’t let that be tested today.” When we arrived it was unreal. My son was alert and responsive. Even the Medical Professionals couldn’t explain it. Little did we know that while we were driving to possibly see our son one last time, there was a team at our Church also praying. One specific prayer was for my son to be awake before the helicopter landed at the hospital- and that is exactly what happened! God is so VERY VERY good!

    1. Bekki says:

      Amen! Praise God!

    2. Kat Hensley says:

      I rejoice with you that your son is well. I want to share my story for those who the prayer was not answered. My 19 year old was in a crash and died and I still believe God is good. He carried me through the experience in a supernatural way that can’t be explained. Even when he doesn’t answer our prayers he gives us all we need. I can’t imagine going
      through life without His strength and love.

  8. Terri says:

    It is comforting to know that Paul, even though he has been through horrible physical things and seen many miracles, he is dealing with the fear of being humiliated! In verses 20 and 21 he talks about having “fear” of things and the word does mean fear in the Greek and context. Paul would know of all the times God has said “fear not”. This man of God had to still deal with fears. We all have “weaknesses “.

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