Faith, Grace, Life

An Elegant Sufficiency

My Grace by Sapphire Dream Photography on flickr

He stood at the front of the church with his head bowed under the weight of his grief, a young man there to bury his even younger wife.  He spoke of their love and their faith – and he concluded with a statement so powerful that it etched itself into my soul:

“His grace is sufficient for me.”

I am OK, he was saying.

I will be OK – because God’s got this, and he has got me, and I am going to come out from the weight of this.

God’s grace was enough.  Enough for him as he gave the eulogy for his wife, lost tragically so young – too young.  Enough in his mourning.

Enough, in spite of it all.

Our hearts were breaking for the Love he had lost – the one that we, too, had to farewell.  But his words gave us hope.  He was quoting the apostle Paul, who spoke of God’s encouragement in the face of his own trials:

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

At the close of the service we sang the song our friend had requested.

It was ‘Amazing Grace.’

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…

I have witnessed the sufficiency of God’s grace time and again in the lives of my friends and family.  I have seen them lifted from their suffering; delivered from their misery; relieved of their burdens solely through their faith in the One whose strength could carry them through.  And I, too, have felt the power of this grace.

I have been buoyed in my despair and sustained in my hour of need.  I have been reminded of his grace when my faith in the outcome has been insufficient to sustain my happiness; God’s grace has been, and is, and always will be sufficient for me.

When my path doesn’t run straight and when I’m stumbling in the dark, I struggle to maintain my sense of hope  – and I look to God’s provision of peace.

.

We spent more than two months looking for a home and not finding one.  The pressure felt enormous.  How will God come through on this?  What is he waiting for?  Why can’t we find something suitable so that we can just feel settled??  Where will our boys go to school???

My emotions were on a razor’s edge, and I was feeling raw and beaten-down as we walked into the sanctuary.  We were at our old church in Auckland, looking forward to the sermon and the fellowship but unsure of how it would feel to report to friends that we were still looking for a place to stay.

The service began with a worship song:

Great is your faithfulness, O God

You wrestle with the sinner’s heart

You lead us by still waters

And to mercy

And nothing can keep us apart.”

They had me at ‘faithfulness’.

I had no tissues – and I needed tissues – so I sat there mopping uselessly at my brimming eyes with a nappy wipe.

And then they got to the chorus, and I gave up trying to stem the flow of tears (for the record, wet wipes are useless at absorption – I just ended up with a saline sheen across my visage).

Your grace is enough,

Your grace is enough,

Your grace is enough for me…

It was God’s voice piercing the gloom; his voice shining hope into my despair: ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’

The sermon that followed was fittingly entitled, ‘Certainties in an Uncertain World’ – so apt for our situation – and the scripture was from the book of Romans.

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose.

– Romans 8:28

The opening song, the message, and the scripture all seemed to carry God’s soft answer to my angst: an assurance of his love and provision.

Later, in explanation for my emotion during the service, I told West about how I’d felt God assuring us of his sustenance and his grace.  God had spoken into my anxious heart.

.

A week later we were in another church.

The service opened with the worship team leading.  And what song were they singing?

You’ve guessed it, I’m sure.

Your grace is enough, your grace is enough…

This time, even West’s eyes brimmed.

.

When I was a little girl, I was taught to refuse another helping of dinner (when I’d had my fill) by saying, “I have had an elegant sufficiency.”  My mischievous Grandpa loved to joke that we should instead claim that we’d had ‘an elephant sufficiency’, but I was only ever cheeky enough to say that at their house!

It seems to me that it may well be said that we are all recipients of ‘an elegant sufficiency’ with God’s provision of grace.  It is as beautiful as it is extravagant.  Christians may remember the acronym GRACE thus: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  We have such abundance in Christ, who has removed the impediment of sin from our access to God’s goodness.

God’s magnificent grace is, indeed, more than sufficient for us.  What a welcome balm that precious truth can pour upon broken hearts.

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One thought on “An Elegant Sufficiency

  1. Pingback: Dwelling Places | autocratricks

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