“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) What does this verse mean and how do we apply it in our daily lives?
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, we learn that Paul had a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to keep him from becoming conceited. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away from him. But the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”On hearing this, Paul said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [NIV (1984)].
Paul knew what it meant and how to apply it. But I was not sure how to apply it in my daily life. After reading several Bible commentaries and learning from the Lord in my daily walk with the Lord, I have come to understand the passage to mean that when I acknowledge my weakness to God, He will give me His grace (inexhaustible love, power and strength) to face evil, trials and temptations, illnesses, pains and losses, hardships, difficulties, insults, persecutions, etc. and overcome them.
Below are some examples.
At a work meeting once, someone called me stupid and stubborn because I did not give in to his demand. My sinful self wanted to retaliate, but the Holy Spirit stopped me and reminded me that I was a Christian and I should pray for God’s grace to forgive and bless that person. I struggled with that because my pride was hurt. Eventually, I yielded to the Holy Spirit and forgave that person and continued to work with him. Later, that person apologised and accepted the stand I took at that meeting. Today, we are good friends. His grace is sufficient for me.
After my surgery in 2013, I endured physical pain for a few weeks. I asked the Lord to help me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 came to mind. At first, I could not understand how this passage of Scripture could help me endure the pain. In my pain, I cried out to the Lord. He guided my thoughts to Gethsemane and Christ’s death on the cross. He told me how by His grace, He had sent His Son to come to endure pain and die for me. As I thought of Christ’s agony at Gethsemane and His anguish at the cross, my pain became bearable. Whenever, the pain came, I thought of Christ. My pain grew strangely dim compared to what Christ went through for me. So much so that when the nurse came to give me my pain-killer, I told her I did not need it any more. She asked me whether I was sure of what I was doing because the patient next door, who had a similar surgery, needed pain-killer every four hours. I told her I was very sure. When I left the hospital, they gave me a packet of pain-killer pills. I never touched them. His grace is sufficient for me.
Recently, my wife and I wanted to transfer some funds from Australia. We tried different ways, but encountered difficulties all the way. We even sought help from the bank’s branch in Singapore but they were not able to pin-point the root cause of the problem. This went on for 21/2 months.
During that time, we prayed, wondering what was going on in the bank and whether our money was safe there. 2 Corinthians 12:9 came to mind. We asked the Lord to show us how this passage of Scripture was relevant to our case specifically. By His grace, He assured us that all was well. We needed to trust and wait on Him. In our moments of anxiety, we learned to rest on God’s grace and goodness.
Then one day, during prayer time, the Lord asked us to contact the Singapore branch of the bank that morning. We did that and were asked to go to the branch office immediately. There, a senior bank officer from Australia, who was in Singapore for only one day, spent about an hour on the phone with his Australian colleagues and sorted things out. We were finally able to transfer our funds. God knew that that bank officer could help us resolve our problems and during prayer time, He asked us to contact the branch office that day.
During the 21/2-month period, we realised how weak and helpless we were. God gave us strength to trust and depend on Him all the way. We also learned to be patient and wait on God – accepting His way and timing. His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness indeed!
By Mr Lim Han Soon (YCKC Bulletin 14&15 February 2015)