August 2022

'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness'

2 Corinthians 12:9 (RSV)

These words are spoken to Paul by Jesus Christ.  They came in response to a repeated plea to the Lord for deliverance from an illness.  We are not told what this sickness was but most scholars agree that it was some sort of physical illness that continually plagued Paul and which he called his “thorn in the flesh”.  It must have been quite severe as the constant attacks held up the work to which he had been called to do by Christ. He had been told to go out to all the world and proclaim the good news of the gospel.   Paul pleaded with Christ three times, to take away his affliction and after the third time, Jesus answered and said to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”.  Paul accepted this response and said “That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in hardships, and in persecutions, for when I am weak, then I am strong”.  

We too, can be laid low by a severe illness or a life-changing accident, but instead of succumbing in despair or giving up altogether, we can ask God to give us His strength and we will receive grace in abundance. Although we may not receive complete physical healing, we will be given the strength to overcome our fears and doubts.  God will never fail or forsake us.  Our times of suffering, when patiently accepted, and when we put all our trust in Christ, can be a means of transformation as it became for Paul.   

Equally, we can put too much trust in our own strength and become anxious and exhausted by the demands in our lives, but when we stop, pause to reflect, and put our trust in God, He will give us His grace and strength.  In our times of contemplation, we can receive these Words of Christ into our minds and hearts and we will be filled with His grace and divine strength to face any difficulty or illness and to carry out our work.  As the Words of Spirit and Life begin to live in us, we can reflect out the divine grace and strength to our neighbours, and all who we name during our time of intercession.