We’ve often heard grace defined as the unmerited favor and blessing of God, yet I believe grace is much more than this. In my opinion, grace is everything that Christ is to us in our times of suffering — power, mercy and love — to see us through our afflictions.
As I look back over the years of great trials, temptation and affliction, I can testify that God’s grace has been enough. I know what it is to question God because my wife endured cancer over and over, and then both our daughters were also stricken. Today, they are all healthy and strong, and for that I thank the Lord. I also know what it is to be buffeted by a messenger of Satan. I’ve been grievously tempted and enticed, and I’ve had enemies stirred up against me on all sides. I’ve been slandered by rumors, falsely accused and rejected by friends. In those dark times, I fell on my knees and cried out to God.
I may still ask why, yet it all remains a mystery. His grace has always brought me through, and that’s enough for today. I’m prepared to accept that until Jesus comes for me. I see no end to my trials and afflictions. I’ve had them for over fifty years of ministry now and counting.
Through it all, though, I’m still being given an ever-increasing measure of Christ’s strength. In fact, my great revelations of his glory have come during my hardest times. Likewise, in your lowest moments, Jesus will release in you the fullest measure of his strength. Scripture tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV).
We may never understand our pain, depression and discomfort in this life. We may not know why our prayers for healing haven’t been answered here and now, but we don’t have to know why on earth.
Someday in glory, my Father will reveal to me the beautiful plan he had all along. He’ll show me how I obtained patience through all my trials, how I learned compassion for others, how his strength was made perfect in my weakness, how I learned about his utter faithfulness toward me and how these events helped to make me more like Jesus.