Author: Cheryl Zelenka
“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.” 1 Peter 5:10
GRACE: “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
Grace is unmerited divine assistance given to the human race for the purpose of enduring the sanctification process. It is a gift that comes directly from God. Because of our Lord’s sacrifice and crucifixion, His blood has set us free from the guilt of sin. This precious offering is what enables us to carry on through even the most painful of circumstances.
When you find yourself in the middle of a fiery trial or furnace, and dross (personal sins) is painfully rising to the surface, you may think God has forgotten your frame and misjudged your ability to persevere. The absolute truth is that He hasn’t ever stopped thinking of you! You are always in His sight and on His mind. Grace is why you are able to carry on and endure the refining process. With grace, God gives you His strength, wisdom, and courage to face your challenge.
We are told that Paul had a “thorn” in his flesh and that he petitioned God to remove it three times. Although it was within the power of God to heal Paul, He had a better idea. God told Paul that the grace He would provide would be sufficient. He further explained that His strength is made perfect in weakness.
Paul understood that when he was weak he would be strong. Strong because God was the one supernaturally providing him with the power to face his personal “thorn” and live through the day. It was the power of God within Paul’s frail body that enabled him to persevere. His weakness was a living witness of God’s power and might.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV)
You may be facing an incredible trial right now, but you can choose to either wallow in self-pity or find consolation in God’s words to Paul. He will be your strength, if you ask Him. He wants to hear your cry for help. He longs for your fellowship and He wants to provide you with His abundant grace.
In this life, there are an endless number of surprising and unexpected opportunities to glorify God. One way is by responding to your circumstances in a godly manner. Will nonbelievers witness a peace and calm in your nature while you ride out moments of incredible pain and suffering? Will those around you observe a reliance on God’s strength to carry you through another day? Will your faith in God’s love, goodness, mercy, and grace strike awe in the hearts of everyone you meet? Will your trial be the reason some fall to their knees in repentance and the scales of deception drop from their eyes?
Call upon the grace of God to carry you through your affliction and adversity. With His strength, your life will be a witness to the lost and provide God with the glory He deserves.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:809 (NKJV)
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
“God’s grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him… Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances.” – Jerry Bridges (Transforming Grace)