Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God's Amazing Grace

Yesterday, I shared about my son Josh's ordeal with a severe hand infection. Click here to read. God was so faithful in seeing us through this trial. He promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but I was also reminded of the reasons we endure trials and why our struggle to get through them is normal.

We cannot grow spiritually if our faith is not exercised. Spiritual growth doesn’t occur through mountaintop experiences. Furthermore, we’re impotent to feel empathy for others’ suffering if our life grazes along in the peaceful pastures while they pick their way up rocky cliffs.

It’s a fallacy to believe Christians are entitled to reside on the mountaintop more so than non-believers. God often blesses us with such moments, but the lack or presence of these experiences shouldn’t cause us or others to assign a faith quotient to our lives. Some of the most faithful people I know have suffered mightily. Hmmm. Maybe there’s a correlation between the two. J

No matter the size of the problem, our despair, or our faith—God works! His faithfulness is not dependent on some formula we try to barter with based on our perceived greatness or failure. God is God. Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. He didn’t say we need a mountain of faith for him to answer prayer. He can work with the tiniest faith we possess. As shown in the Gospels, Jesus always came through for those who gave what faith they had to him.

[The boy’s father said], “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22b-24
Jesus healed the man’s son. And this brings me to my next observation.

God can handle our despair. He knows our human frailties. Even Jesus experienced despair in his prayers before crucifixion and while hanging on the cross.

Going a little farther, he [Jesus] fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:46
The key is to stay focused on God’s sovereignty and not the despair. We do this by remembering God’s grace.

God’s grace is sufficient. This is the toughest one for us to rely on totally. Yet it’s integral to growing our faith. We want the problem fixed. Now. Sometimes we succumb to bartering. Especially in fear. God has proven time and again to me that His grace is all I need during a trial.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9
Everything else God chooses to do is further blessing. My job is to hang onto that grace life raft while being tossed in the rapids and know it’s sufficient. Sure, I might be disheveled when I get back to dry, stable land, but I’ve survived. His grace not only sees me through the trial, but in his faithfulness, He restores me and makes my faith stronger than before.

The keys to staying the course in a trial are prayer and being grounded in God’s word. Satan’s attacks will come—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We live in a fallen world—full of germs, disease, accidents, wars, famines, and so on. The only way we will survive spiritually during periods of suffering is to put on His armor.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
Josh is better. I’m grateful his trial is over. But even when I felt despair during it, God was there. I sensed his presence. I felt his touch. He bound up my heart and protected my son. I’m thankful for the outcome and never doubted God’s faithfulness.

Isn’t this the bottom line in all we do as Christians? When we can’t see the outcome, we can trust Him to get it right. It’s God’s amazing grace that sees us through.

He will never leave or forsake us. Praise God!

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

If you have a prayer need, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. The prayer list and updates for Sgt. Jesse McCart are at the top of the blog. Please remember to lift these folks up in prayer. 

Prayer Request: Betty asks for prayer for her Uncle Wayne who recently had a stroke. He is undergoing open heart surgery today.

Also, check out the Missions page at the top, as well, for an opportunity to lend support for a Sudan mission trip. Thanks! J


©Laura Hodges Poole


  1. So glad Josh did well. My daughter had a skin infection when she was 2 that spreads and was dangerously close to her eye, an entry point to the inside of her body. If it had spread to her brain through her socket it would have been fatal. And with Mike and the several scares he's given me? Yes, I know the temptation to bargain with God all too well. It is his mercy that when we wrestle with him, we merely walk with a limp afterwards. Praise God for his loving-kindness.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Dawn. We're all in this Christian walk together. We gain encouragement from each other and from His Word. I'm praising God with you!

  2. So glad Josh is improving.
    God's faithfulness is beyond our comprehension. His grace beyond compare.

    There have been times in my life I wasn't sure I could keep going but looking back I can see God's hand holding me when I couldn't find the strength to stand. God is true to His word, He will never leave us!
    That's something to take to the bank!

    1. So true, TC. Sometimes only in hindsight we see God's hand in our lives. But He is always faithful, and you can bank on that even when your despair is trying to tell you otherwise. God bless you.

  3. This reminds me of the hugely popular footsteps story, when there was only one set of footprints in the sand during the most difficult times in our lives. This is instead of the normal two sets as we walk with the lord. As Jesus explains, it was then that I carried you.