“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
I believed in and rested in the grace of God before Kim’s death. I am no different from anyone else; I needed grace. Grace, by definition, is receiving what you don’t deserve. It’s one thing to receive mercy—not getting what you deserve; it’s altogether different, to receive grace. Mercy would be enough for me. Avoiding eternal punishment is good. But God, in his graciousness, delivers us into the kingdom of his Son. We are reconciled and given salvation by God.
Undeserved but lavishly provided.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…” Colossians 1:13
The gift of grace is important in order to understand the nature and goodness of God. His grace delivers gifts to us which we do not deserve. Salvation. Freedom from the power of sin. Eternity with Christ. Redemption. Transference into the kingdom of his Son.
“We have been changed by his grace, are being changed by his grace, and will be changed by his grace.“ Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change
Beyond grace that changes us—past and future—there’s another important aspect to this gift of grace in our present moments. In his devotional book, New Morning Mercies, Paul David Tripp states, “Future grace always carries with it the promise of present grace.” Grace is needed in the face of difficulty. Some days are simply worse than others. Paul had a thorn in the flesh. On one hand the thorn was a messenger to instruct and train Paul. It was sent or allowed to keep Paul from temptation from becoming conceited, arrogant. Self-sufficient. He even pleaded that the thorn might be removed from him.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Notice again, the thorn wasn’t removed. Relief from pain was not given. Instead, contentment was added to Paul’s chaos. It came through grace, sufficient grace. Power in weakness. Moment-by-moment provision. Marvelous grace. As Julia H. Johnston so masterfully captured in her hymn, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin,” “Grace that is greater–yes, grace untold–points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe!” Grace is a refuge in moments of our lives. Grace is a constant gift—regardless of how good or how difficult your life is at the moment. Sufficient for all times.
“What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer, There is no more for heaven now to give…” Jeremy Camp, “Christ in Me”
Here’s my testimony: His grace is sufficient. His grace provides power in weakness. Yes, it’s a mystery. It’s paradoxical. I’d go so far as to say it’s even weird, difficult to understand. Paul can be content with weakness, attacks, and even tragedy.
And we can too.
His grace really is sufficient in the moment-by-moment experiences of life.
“…and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:14
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Thank you D. Ray. Perfect words for me to read and ponder today.
I’m glad to hear it, Maria.
Thank you so much for this insight into grace for the widowed. I’ve been widowed for over 15 years and I’ve never considered how Paul’s plight in this passage could apply to my situation. I needed to hear this today.
(I’m a very close friend of R & C. Your good friends from college in GA. I think we’ve met before.)
R & C are GREAT friends! I’m grateful that my entry was helpful to you. We need–and we have–sufficient grace for long journeys. I stand in awe of God’s grace.
Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that can pardon and cleanse within! Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace. Blessings brother.
Grace, indeed, Annette.