|artwork by Tamara Peterson|
Amplified: But He said to me, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
Phillips: but his reply has been, "My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely." Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ.
Wuest: And He has said to me, and His declaration still stands, “My grace is enough for you, for power is moment by moment coming to its full energy and complete operation in the sphere of weakness.” Therefore, most gladly will I the rather boast in my weaknesses in order that the power of the Christ [like the Shekinah Glory in the Holy of Holies of the Tent of Meeting] may take up its residence in me [working within me and giving me help].
Young's Literal: and He said to me, “Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;” most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Christ may rest on me.
The Message: and then he told me, "My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect IN weakness.”
Look at Jesus and you’ll be at rest!
Charis is a word which can be somewhat difficult to define but one of the most familiar definitions is "God's unmerited favor." In the present context, grace speaks of the supernatural power available to Paul to enable him to bear up under his "weakness", the trial of a thorn in his flesh. Grace is God's unmerited help for one undeserving with no thought or ability to give recompense. Grace is not some static concept but is a dynamic force, which totally transforms the believer's life beginning with salvation, continuing in our sanctification, and then all through eternity in our glorification. Grace enables the believer to endure without grumbling or complaining, and enables our weakness or suffering to be used for God's glory.
Pastor John MacArthur writes: “When God declared to Paul in answer to his prayer, “My grace is sufficient for you,” He affirmed the total sufficiency of His grace for every need in life—to believe the gospel; to understand and apply the Word to all the issues of life; to overcome sin and temptation; to endure suffering, disappointment, and pain; to obey God; to serve Him effectively; and to worship Him. God’s grace was sufficient for the deepest pain Paul (or any other believer) could ever experience.”
Pastor Hanmer William Webb-Peploe was born in 1837, in England. When asked about his favorite Bible verse, he replied in writing: “A very large number of texts have been, in my lifetime, of special service to me, through the goodness of God; but that if I have to choose one out of the whole book which has been of special help to me, I should mention the words in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee,” which were made by God’s mercy at a time of special trial a blessing of remarkable force to my soul. It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain, and I had just laid my little one’s body in the church yard when, on returning home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial, and finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sunday, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but, on trying to prepare my notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true, and therefore knelt down and earnestly asked God to “Let His grace be sufficient for me,” and while I was thus pleading I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, which was placed upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us. I did not notice the words on returning to my house, but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The ‘is’ was picked out in bright green, while the ‘my’ and the ‘thee’ were painted in another color. In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as “Lord let thy grace be sufficient for me:” for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask for that which is? God cannot make it any more sufficient than he has made it: get up and believe it and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.” The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, “Never turn God’s facts into hopes or prayers, but simply use them as realities and you will find them powerful as you believe them.”
After the homegoing of my Daddy, Eston Willis, we discovered in his Bible the following poem which describes our Master Weaver's plan…My life is but a weaving, between my Lord and me; I cannot choose the colors. He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I in foolish pride, forget He sees the upper and I the under side. Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly, shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why, the dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hands, as the threads of gold and silver, in the pattern He has planned.
Consider the underside of a handmade tapestry described in this poem. The elaborate coordinated threads on the exterior side of the fabric, woven with precision and creativity, produce a work of art intended by the weaver. The side that will not be seen, however, is a tangled mess of thread, yarn, and knots. How similar to life! Christ uses what appears to be random circumstances with no meaning—simply knots and tangles—and makes something beautiful out of them.
Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You, even in suffering, knowing that You are at work mending and making whole, raising up the broken to life...IN my weakness...thank You for Your promise that Your grace IS sufficient for this day. Thank you for the power and grace of Your Holy Spirit, Who gives me the strength to persevere in prayer even when I am at my weakest moment and ready to give up. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.
Look Up—meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9