Sunday, March 19, 2017

His Grace

I have heard people say, "I don't think I could handle that."  They then proceed to name the set of circumstances which they feel they would never be able to handle, if that set of circumstances would occur in their lives.  When I was younger I remember thinking that there were two things I just "knew" I would not be able to handle, if they happened to me.  These two things were the death of my husband and the loss of a breast.  God asked both of these things of me.  My husband died at the end of a long battle against his neurological disease in early 2011, and I lost a breast due to breast cancer in the same time frame that I was my husband's caregiver.

The truth is that God does not give us grace ahead of time.  He gives us His extra grace to handle a difficult and "impossible" situation at the time we need it and not before that time.  That does not mean that the difficult situation will be pleasant, and that one is free from negative emotions.  It just means that God will give sufficient grace and even a measure of joy and peace in the midst of the situation.

I remember being worn out by the years of care-giving for my husband and also my own health issues during part of that time.  Yet I also remember God's strength given to me.  At the end of the care-giving venture and throughout the care-giving venture my faith and love for the Lord not only remained intake, but it grew.

In the book of  ll Corinthians in the New Testament of the Bible the apostle, Paul, asked the Lord three times for release from "a thorn in the flesh." We do not know for sure what this affliction was that Paul was experiencing, but apparently it was serious enough that Paul cried out to the Lord for relief.  The Lord did not choose to take this affliction from him, however.

Instead the Lord said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians 12:9)  The Lord was going to give Paul the grace he needed moment by moment to endure and even prosper in the midst of this affliction.  Paul's response in ll Corinthians 12:9b-10 was to say, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.----For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Paul was content to feel weak and to suffer his affliction, because in the process the Lord's sufficient strength in Paul would be seen more clearly.

How about you dear caregiver?  Are you willing to trust that God's grace is sufficient to get you through any care-giving challenge you may face today or in the future?  I remember feeling afraid of what the future held while caring for my husband.  How was I going to handle each new decline in his physical functioning?  Yet God paved the way and gave me His strength step by step even during the moments when I felt very overwhelmed.  Do you believe, dear caregiver, that God's grace will be given to you moment by moment?  Do you believe it will be delivered at the right time and that the grace will be sufficient for every scenario? Do you believe His grace will be enough for you to stay firm in your faith and to continue to believe in God's goodness and love?

God's grace IS sufficient for all your needs, dear caregiver.  He will equip you for whatever lies ahead.  You will not only survive, but you will prosper spiritually through the process.  Even if your loved one moves on to eternity, God will give you the grace for that as well.  Through many painful moments He has done that for me.

I still often give into fear.  It is not easy to walk the walk of a widow.  In fact, I am anticipating something in my near future and am wondering how I am going to "get through it."  Yet I am reminded that God will give me the sufficient grace at the moment and moments I  need it.  God is doing and will do the same for you, dear caregiver!

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