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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
As I was reading a devotional this morning, I came across Spurgeon’s thoughts about the above verse. Here is what I read: “The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day’s work. I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, when swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way, “MY grace is sufficient for thee”; and I said, “I should think it is, Lord,” and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, “Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee.” Or, it seemed after the seven years of plenty, a mouse feared it might die of famine; and Joseph might say, “Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee.” Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, “I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere,” but the earth might say, “Breathe away, O man, and fill the lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for thee.” Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to Heaven, but great faith will bring Heaven to your souls.—C. H. Spurgeon (Find it Here)
God’s Word is indeed living and active and powerful. For years I’ve focused on the sufficiency mentioned in this verse, not the Sufficient One. I’ve focused on the power mentioned in this verse, not the All-Powerful One. I think many of us have. How many times have we heard or even said ourselves in that “have pity on me” voice (maybe even with a sigh for added effect), “His grace is sufficient for me.” As if “sufficient” is just enough. As if His grace barely satisfies my parched and weary soul. When asked by a friend or acquaintance how I am doing, I might reply with “Life is really rough right now, but His grace is sufficient for me.” Or “I don’t understand why all this is happening to me, but His grace is sufficient for me.” As if making such statements gives God the depth of glory He deserves.
It doesn’t. In fact, it takes away the glory He deserves. Said in the perspective above–a perspective that focuses on my weakness and my human understanding of grace–God is glorified very little. Yet He deserves so much more than a shallow, misdirected gratitude and understanding. The verse does more than merely proclaim that my weakness is not too big for God’s grace and power. It proclaims that His grace and power are much too big for my human weakness to ever comprehend. My view of grace is limited; His is eternal. He isn’t just enough; He is more than enough. There’s a difference. Oh how many times have I said and heard this verse from a misguided perspective. It is not “woe is me” that I am weak. It is not “lucky for me” God is stronger. It is not even a “He is strong when I am weak,” as if God only completes what we cannot complete on our own. No. Rather, it is Glory! Glory to God in Heaven! He is God! Me? I am man. It is not about MY weakness. It is about HIS grace and strength–His complete grace and strength. It is not about my insufficiency. It is about His ultimate sufficiency. It is all about Him.
This is why Paul could say I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. Paul knew the depths of this truth–the truth that God is. He doesn’t need. He doesn’t lack. He is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). It is why John the Baptist declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). John the Baptist knew it was not about man; it was about God. In fact, the more man is present, the less God is. The more God is present, the more due glory He receives. We must always remember man was created for God, not God for man. We were created in His likeness, not He ours. He is the Creator; we are the created. So it’s not that I am weak; it’s that He is strong. It is not that I can’t; it’s that He can. It’s not that I am merely man; it’s that God is fully God. And since God is fully God, His grace is as the great hymn proclaims: amazing!
I say it again: It is all about Him.
It reminds me of the story in John. Upon seeing a man blind from birth, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus who sinned to cause this man to become blind, as if it were man’s fault for blindness. Yet Jesus responded, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). It was not about the man at all. It never was. It was about God. The man’s blindness gave God the glory. God’s power was made perfect through this man’s weakness. God’s grace was more than enough before this man was ever born; in fact, it was more than enough before the foundation of the world. More. Than. Enough.
So I ask you now: Are you wrestling with your weakness, struggling with your lack of strength? Are you wondering if God is sufficient? If He is really strong enough? Don’t wonder. Don’t fear. Don’t Fight. Focus. Focus not on who you are; focus on who He is. Cast your weakness before Him. Surrender your strength at His feet. Place your frail cup of human nature at the mouth of His unending well of grace. He won’t just pour in a little. He won’t just pour in what you can’t. He won’t even just fill it once. He’ll keep filling it. And the more you drink, the more He’ll fill–and when God fills, He fills to overflowing.