MY Grace is All You Need (2 Corinthians 12:9)
This scripture has been a theme this summer for so many reasons I am losing count. And the more I journey into it, talk about it and pray it into my soul, the more fascinated, intrigued, and delighted I become! There is peace and freedom in it, and yet there is also a disruption inside our human thinking that will require engagement and maybe some shifting. Well, at least that’s true of me. I’ll explain, hopefully without over-explaining.
The amount of times I have called out to God in prayer and petition is staggering. For peace, comfort, healing, understanding, mercy, provision, forgiveness, wisdom, etc. My pleas feel endless. Some are answered quickly in the affirmative, and to my liking. Others are answered with a very slooow “Yes.” And yet some, are answered with a rather obvious, “No.” Then, Paul explains yet another response here that we often dismiss, though I imagine it is rather common.
During one of Pauls’ petitions, Jesus tells him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul describes his thorn as being a messenger of Satan, and something to keep him from becoming conceited (immensely prideful of self). And Paul uses this example not to boast about himself and how strong he is in his faith, for that would defeat the purpose, but instead to boast about the power of Christ. It is through this revelation of God’s grace, not miraculous healing, that Paul finds freedom!
Just to clarify, praying in authority and hope is a GOOD thing; a Biblical thing! We are told in Philippians 4:6 to not “…worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” If we do not receive an immediate response then it is time to evaluate what God is telling us. No? Not yet? Or, perhaps, it is what Paul is explaining here; the prayer (the thorn) is not what should be prayed about right now. Pray to receive and accept God’s grace, because it is enough.
Yet, what does it mean? I suppose it depends upon your circumstance and what you are praying about, and it may take some time and partnership in your faith community, with a prayer partner, pastor or counselor, to discern why God’s grace is sufficient for you right now, as opposed to the actual prayer your are praying.
It is a good to begin by recognizing who our Father is, and that His Kingdom coming has everything to do with His love for us, and His unfailing mercy and forgiveness (Matthew 6, Luke 11). Without that recognition and understanding, we will miss the healing potential of His amazing grace.
And in this moment, I need to be needed
With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
Cause I love to be loved
The song is a beautiful lament, and whether Peter knows it or not, he is expressing a deeply held need to be eternally loved, accepted and adored. It is a need of ours that other human beings (our husbands, wives, parents, children, friends, siblings, etc.) can not perfect, but our perfect Father does. We need Him to love us, and to experience His grace, because oftentimes an answered prayer of “Yes” or “No” simply will not be enough. Not enough for us, and not enough for God.
If we have trouble accepting love from God, it is likely that we have trouble accepting love from others as well, including ourselves. If we see ourselves as ugly, damaged, unworthy, or too broken or dark to accept love, then we have some bondage to address. Some lies we are believing, and potentially some strongholds. Humbly approach God with a request to have your heart examined (Psalm 26:2), perhaps even with fellow believers who will rally around you in love, truth and prayer to assist you in breaking free from those deceptions and strongholds that keep you at a distance from God and others.
This is a humbling process. Be kind and patient with yourself.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks Him. -Lamentations 3:25