Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 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 Cor 12:7-10 (NKJV)
The idea of sufficient grace is probably not as exciting as that of amazing grace, and yet, the sufficiency of God's grace is what makes His grace so amazing! Sufficiency speaks to the idea that God's grace is always greater than the burden of our sin. His grace is up to the challenge of our human weaknesses. For me personally, that is good, no make that GREAT news!! How many times have I struggled with the same sins and weaknesses, come before the Lord with a repentant heart, only to discover the mystery of His sufficient grace all over again...
There is no question that most of us share a common malady with the Apostle Paul. We too have some sort of thorn in our flesh. A thorn could be anything ranging from a sin problem to an attitude problem, or perhaps a quirk in our personality that we just can't seem to shake. Once again, as in the case of Paul, "thorns" serve to remind us of how much we are dependent upon God's grace. No one really wants to be afflicted by a thorn in the flesh and yet we are humbled by such. God uses all things in life, both good and bad, to bring about His purposes in us.
Just how sufficient is the grace of God? Paul asks a similar question: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Romans 8:35 (NKJV) The answer to Paul's rhetorical question is a resounding "no!" These things do not have the power to overwhelm the sufficiency of God's grace. God's grace is up to the challenge of overcoming the collective failure of our flesh.
Author's Note: When I became a father and I held my children in my arms, perhaps for the first time, I began to understand the mystery of God's love. My children grew up and became adults that I greatly admire; but, I cannot think of a scenario that would separate them from my love. I am confident that I will love them as long as I live. I am also certain that my love is pale in comparison to the love of our Heavenly Father...and I know, for I have been on the receiving end of His love, His grace, His favor, His mercy, His patience, His goodness, His kindness, His discipline, His provision, His blessings... RJ