"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"
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
Take a coin out of your pocket, from the console of your car, or from in between the cushions of your living room sofa. Look at it and you will see the words obviously engraved and often overlooked, "In God We Trust." Now, look around you at the culture and society that surrounds you. Do you see it? Do you see the results of a people that are trusting God? Perhaps you see a people who are trying so hard to no avail to pursue the "American Dream," trying to make sense out of economic times that seem to make no sense at all. You find people trusting in Wall Street, Capitol Hill, the White House, their jobs, and themselves. To be fair, take a look at yourself. As one who possible professes a belief in the Almighty, how do you compare? Are you more apt to cling to a hope in the God that you cannot see during the times of trial and uncertainty that you are certain to face? Or do you then cling to what appears to be more real, quick, yet unstable and fleeting in the wisdom from the minds of people that helped to create the mess you might find yourself in?
Have you ever been outside the culture that has become your norm? It's life-changing. I will never forget the first time that I went to nation that has been rocked by communism. Freedom, as has been taken for granted in the 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,' is a dream that seems so unreal. However, what is so real to them is the freedom that they have found in Jesus. To experience a worship service with these dear friends is to encounter the Living God in ways that I've never seen. Why? Why is it so different? Why do they seem so full of joy, so rich in the Spirit of God, though they seem to have nothing. They live in poverty, under persecution, and without the luxuries that have become normal staples of comfort in my everyday life. Yet, they seem happier, more content, less stressed and frustrated, and more at peace. What they really need, they really have. Nothing else matters. They've come to understand the truth that matters the most. When Jesus is all you have, then you realize that Jesus is all you've ever needed.
It is so easy and so common to pray for that perfect life without struggles, tragedies, or pain. But think about this: if that was reality, who would need Jesus? Paul learned the reality of this truth in a manner that required his dependence upon One greater than himself. He prayed. More than once he prayed that God would deliver him from this "thorn in the flesh." Whether it was a physical ailment or some mental/emotional turmoil is a matter for theological debate, but the point is made clear. Paul learned the sufficiency (the powerful "more than enough" of God's presence) of God's grace in his life. It was this strength of Christ that made Paul complete during his weakness.
You face, and will face, moments of weakness in this life. Don't give into the call of your culture to depend on yourself, or the counsel of systems and ideologies that would lead you to believe that all you need is you. In yourself, you have nothing to offer. By now you've probably come to know that truth more than once. But "IN CHRIST," you have access to more than you've ever known. When you are weak, you are strong...because He is strong. You are weak when you rely on you. You are strong when you rely on Him. God allows things in your life to remind you of your need for His all-sufficient, more than enough, more-than-able-to-get-it-done grace so that in Him you may find rest. Remember, when Jesus is all you have, then Jesus is all you need.
As you begin or continue today, be challenged to take a minute and return your reliance to Him. This is a prayer that is often heard from my lips to God's ears. Pray this with me: "Lord, help me to rest in your peace and in your grace. Oh how I need You. I thank you for every trial, because they all have served to remind me of your faithfulness and love. Amen."