by Timothy W. Tron, May, 2022
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
The bursts of lightning struck all around the mountain last night. The bolts from the sky shook the earth with each succession of haunting light that filled the dark room. With each strike, the word “Grace” kept coming to mind. There are times like those, when the power of God’s creation is on full display, that we feel most helpless. Think about it; there is essentially nothing that can protect you from a bolt of lightning if you are out in the open without any shelter. It is then we begin to comprehend something of God’s grace. In layman’s terms, one could think of God as someone so powerful, so unthinkably magnificent, that on the one hand, he could destroy you with nothing less than the blink of an eye, while on the other hand, with the same force, he’ll protect you from all harm. In this manner, one could imagine how grace is given – not what we deserve, but what we are provided through the goodwill of another.
The other evening, walking around Bass Lake, God’s grace spoke to me. The sun was setting, and the sky was painting all manner of purple and orange hues upon the surface of the water. Up ahead of me, several deer were grazing on the new shoots of grass growing along the trail. My pace didn’t change, nor did their demeanor as I approached. It was then, standing and looking at them peacefully accepting me in their presence, that I realized they were affording me grace I didn’t deserve. Here were animals that would have already darted away if their natural instincts were allowed to rule. Yet, we stood, looking at one another as if they were my pets. How often do we receive grace but fail to pass it on? We seem to easily receive, but when it’s time to pay it forward, we make excuses – inabilities or infirmities stand in the way. As a result, the person that needed our help or support is left without because we failed to give the very thing we were afforded – grace.
Walking along the confluence of the John’s River yesterday, it was apparent that the night’s storms had brutally assaulted the highlands. The water was the color of chocolate milk, raging in frothing fits seeking to burst its confines. As my footsteps were careful to avoid the pockets of mud, my mind wandered to a comparison of my life to the water. So many times, my life had taken a turn; sometimes, it seemed for the worse, sometimes, less frequently, for the best. Many days, it all felt like my life was like the turmoil that flowed past me. Yet, along each step, along each misdirection, He was guiding me. The Apostle Paul suffered from a thorn in his side, as he put it. He had an affliction that he suffered with throughout his ministry. It had to have been unpleasant, for he asked God three times to remove it, but God’s answer was simply, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” In other words, God could have taken away the ailment but chose to allow Paul to continue struggling through his life with the condition. Paul could have been angry but realized that “God’s Grace” was enough for this unmentioned thorn in his side, that he could bear it, and with that, he was satisfied. He even used it as a motivation when he said, “For my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
The word “grace” can take on all manner of connotations when thought about within the context of the Bible. One of the most important places it is used is when it says, “For it is by His grace that we are saved, and not of ourselves, that any man should boast.” We live in a fallen world. As adults, we are all guilty of sin. By God’s judgment, we are guilty and convicted of this sin, such that we deserve death. But it is by His grace that we are saved. The only condition is to believe in Him and accept Him into your life – it’s that simple.
There are times when we feel inundated with what the world puts on us. Paul wrote about such things, putting it into perspective, he said, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound….” He realized and knew that what was in the world was no match for the power of God. When the obstacles became too great, he would lean all the more on the Lord. In these times of need, he saw again and again that God’s grace came down and allowed him to continue. From shipwrecks, imprisonment, beatings, and even death, God’s grace was more than enough to prevail.
As I pondered these things, I wondered if “Grace” was something that I really wanted to write about this month. “Surely, if it is meant to be, God will give me a sign,” I thought to myself as I continued my walk to church. It was during the special music that I received my answer. The preacher, unannounced, sat down at the piano and performed a song that I had never heard before. When he got to the chorus, it became apparent what the song was about, and I knew the confirmation was complete. “Grace to cross the river, grace to face forever, there’ll be new grace I’ve never needed before.” Yes, it was the gospel song, “New Grace,” and how it hit me.
All of grace is my story, all the way from earth to glory
Since by grace, He lifted me from sin and woe
Living grace, He has extended as on Him my heart depended
And He’ll give new grace when it’s my time to go.
There’s been grace for every trial, there’s been grace for every mile
There’s been grace sufficient from His vast supply
Grace to make my heart more tender, grace to love and pray for sinners
But there’ll be new grace when it’s my time to die.
Grace not yet discovered, grace not yet uncovered
Grace from His bountiful store
Grace to cross the river, grace to face forever
There’ll be new grace I’ve not needed before.
In the Gospel of John, we are afforded the most telling description of how God’s grace is sufficient, “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Not only have we received the ultimate blessing, God’s grace, but by that grace, we are allowed more grace to enter because of it. Like the cleansing of the waterpots before Jesus turned the water into wine, we too, when we accept Christ into our lives, are like those vessels.
Allow God’s grace into your life, and find out how much richer your world will become. You’ll have the grace to cross the river, and yes, grace to face forever unlike any you’ve known before.
And as always, “Thanks be to God.”
 2 Corinthians 12:9
 2 Corinthians 12:10
 Romans 5:21 KJV
 Song written by Tom Hayes, 1982
 John 1:15-17 KJV