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
As a boy growing up in China, William sang about the grace of God, but it was not until the cold reality of solitary confinement in prison sank in that William began to understand what grace really means. William's mother was an American missionary who married a Chinese medical doctor, and they worked together in China, raising their family to know and follow God.
Then came the Cultural Revolution beginning in 1966 that tried to expunge capitalism and tradition from China. Thousands of families were torn apart by Mao Tse-tung's Red Guard, who functioned as hangman, judge and jury all at the same time. The "Revolution" claimed the lives of several million people and inflicted cruel and inhuman treatments on hundreds of million people. William's mother and father were sent to prison, where his father died mysteriously in what prison officials termed a "work related" accident.
William and his sisters were considered guilty by association and sent to prison for the crime of being followers of Jesus Christ who would not renounce their faith in Him. For that, William was confined in total darkness for a period of nine months.
How do people like William cope, you may wonder? Are they just stronger than the rest of us? Or is there some sort of special and support for God's children which gives hope and sustains in their darkest hour? The answer is Yes, there is, and for two thousand years, God's children have called it "the grace of God."
After he was released from prison, William wrote to a friend and said, "What I miss more than all else are the intense, quiet moments with Christ that I have not known since the anguish of the days while I was in solitary confinement!"
There is a facet of God's care and concern that we experience in times of pain and loss which we can never have apart from times of testing. It is the comfort of God's Spirit that lets us sense the warmth of God's care and concern. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4KJV), and when he said that He was not merely passing out verbal bouquets as meaningless platitudes. He was saying there is help for our hurt, relief for our pain, and hope for our despair. That is a facet of this wonderful thing called the grace of God.
But there is something else which needs to be explained which makes the grace of God even more remarkable. Grace is not something which is given out in response to our moral goodness, as though God instructs an angel to keep track of our good deeds and when we hit a certain level, God rewards us like we've won a prize.
That is the difference between rewards which are due on the basis of merit, and the grace of God which is given to anyone who will seek God with all his heart. Long ago God said, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). Still true? Yes. God hasn't changed, and grace is still there--free, undeserved, and completely sufficient.
Have you ever tasted of the grace of God? When trouble knocks at your door, you've got to be willing to trust Him to provide the grace that He freely offers. When you get to the end of yourself, the point of desperation, you're ready to experience this wonderful help called grace.
Sometimes the best thing in our lives happens because God allowed a bad thing which resulted in a very, very good thing as we tasted richly of the grace of God. Then we learn what God told Paul long ago, "My grace is sufficient..." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Resource reading: Psalm 46:1-11