Two related passages are bouncing around my head this week.
Romans 5:20 “… where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (NIV) The Contemporary English Version says, “ … where sin was powerful, God’s kindness was even more powerful.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” (NCV)
Without launching into a theological treatise, there is a need for us to process this. This is an especially troubling time in the earth. Earthquakes in China, typhoons in Myanmar, tornadoes in the Midwest. And people are dying.
Friends of ours lost their little son this week. A youth pastor we know left his wife and child this week. A close friend shared with me yesterday his lack of emotional and mental stability because of the pressure he is facing.
Is God’s grace really enough to handle this stuff?
Over the weekend at our worship services, we sang, “Your Grace Is Enough”, written by Chris Tomlin. Knowing a little about the gravity of the situations faced by some people, I was choked up while we asked/reminded God: “remember your people, remember your children, remember your promise, O God”. A good song and a good prayer.
It is true. No matter how bad things get, God’s mercy can handle it. When people hurt, God’s love can cover them. For purposes of clarification, I am not connecting Romans 5:20 with the idea that God has brought the people mentioned above tragedy to punish them for their sin. We know that all bad things are a result of sin in the earth. But the innocent people, especially children who are dying, have hurt no one. I mention this because I heard a woman say this week that the earthquake in China was because they (the Chinese) had killed some Christians. This twisted view of justice is common among American Christians. If God responded to our sin this way, none of us would be left. I think I’ll take this up in another post.
How can we sure? What does grace looks like? Sometimes it may appear to be insufficient. Well grace doesn’t mean we will not have tough times. It means that, in those tough times, God will be with us and we will get through it. “Getting through it” is relative, I know. Some people lose their lives, so how can this be identified as “getting through it”?
When all the dust settles, God is there. And we can be with Him. That is His promise. That promise alone is what grace is about. In a million years from now, when all of the difficulties we are facing are gone from our memories, we will be with God. That is forever grace.
By the way, good things also happened this week. Healthy babies were born, people found hope and peace in Christ, families were reunited. Let’s not let the pain of the day cloud our vision of reality.
God’s grace is sufficient:
For China, for Myanmar, for Jose and Luz, for Emily, for me and you.
Remember your people, O God.