by Joe Fornear
Life can be overwhelmingly hard and the temptation to despair can be great. Happened to me when I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma in 2003. I was soon after given the prognosis of “days to live.” The cancer and it’s cures were far more than I could personally handle emotionally, physically or spiritually.
I’m so glad, however, that the Lord displayed His amazing grace and powers through human followers, like Job and Paul. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-25, Paul lists among some of his hardships the following experiences, any of which would devastate most of us!
- Many imprisonments
- Beaten times without number
- Five times he received thirty-nine lashes from the Jews.
- Three times he was beaten with rods
- Once he was stoned
- Three times he was shipwrecked, once floating in the ocean for 24 hours
“The 6 rounds of chemo whipped me” doesn’t quite rise to the level of “I was whipped by a leather whip with metal shards in it 195 times” (five times thirty-nine)! Paul desperately sought God to remove these trials, eventually God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What does “sufficient grace” mean? Here are five elements to the grace He supplies:
1) He gives HIS peace – In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
2) He gives peace that surpasses understanding – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
3) The love of God is poured out within our hearts – Romans 5:3-5 – “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
4) Inexpressible Joy – 1 Peter 1:8 – “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
5) Joy that’s better than the world’s joy – Psalm 4:7 – “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
Don’t ever fall into the trap of despair, God can handle your battle through you!
In His Grip,
Joe and Terri Fornear
(used with permission)