There are two kinds of grace. The first is saving grace, which means that the moment we place our trust in Christ, God wipes the entire record of our sins clean. The second is sustaining grace. Sustaining grace doesn’t promise us an easy, trouble-free life, but instead promises that God’s strengthening presence will be with us through the difficult times and struggles. Paul wrote: ‘I was given a thorn in my flesh…Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”’ (vv. 7-9 NIV). It’s a very vivid image – a thorn piercing the soft skin and lodging beneath the surface, bringing a reminder of our weaknesses with every move we make. But along with that comes the reminder that God’s with us in our weakness, holding us, letting us lean on Him for strength, and saying to us, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ John Newton, the Anglican clergyman who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’, found that God’s grace was sufficient. On the day his beloved wife, Mary, died, he found the strength to preach a Sunday sermon. The next day he visited church members, and later on, he conducted her funeral. Looking back he wrote: ‘The Bank of England is too poor to compensate for such a loss as mine. But the Lord, all-sufficient God, speaks, and it is done. Let those who know Him, and trust Him, be of good courage. He can give them strength according to their day. He can increase their strength as their trials increase…And what He can do, He has promised He will do.’
Take or find a photo that reminds you of God’s presence, and add some text to it: ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ When you’re going through a difficult time, use your photo as your phone’s lock screen, to give you a regular reminder of His sustaining grace.
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