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My Grace IS Sufficient for You
My Grace IS Sufficient for You
This is how God revealed Himself to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 “I am the Almighty God.” The word ‘Almighty’ there is rendered ‘El Shaddai’, which means the ‘All Sufficient’ God.
Many years ago, a man called Charles Trumbull wrote a small book called ‘Victory in Christ’ published in 1923. Trumbull discovered the secret of victory in Christ, when he pondered over a small wall text, a fragment of a verse, from 2 Cor 12:9. That small text was ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ These were the words of Christ spoken to Paul the apostle. As Trumbull pondered over the text, his mind focused on the word ‘is’. He realized that the focus was not on the future, but on the present; what God was saying was ‘My grace IS sufficient for you. It is fact; and a fact is more than a promise. A promise may have conditions to it, but a fact is a fact. What God was saying in effect was: ‘My grace is presently available to you. My grace is already working in you. Stop looking at yourself, or the circumstances around you. I am with you. I will never leave you. My grace surrounds you like a shield, Ps 5:12b. My grace is already performing its work in you, Ps 57.2b.’ Trumbull reflected on the sufficiency of God’s grace – that that grace was was not conditional upon his doing something to merit it, but that God unconditionally was supplying it to him and that grace was doing its mysterious and marvellous work in him. So he did not have to pray for grace; he simply had to praise God for the grace given to him, the grace available with him, the grace working in him, the grace that was sufficient for all things.
Trumbull realized the need to distinguish God’s facts from God’s promises. Faith rests upon facts. A promise, on the other hand, is a pledge that God will do what He has promised to do, basing upon our praying to him or fulfilling some condition on our part. But a fact remains a fact, irrespective of what we do or say or think. God’s facts are eternal facts. And the fragment: ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ – is an irrefutable, ever-existing, unbreakable fact. We can stand upon that Rock-solid fact by faith.
In a meeting in Toronto, Trumbull spoke of certain temptations that come suddenly and unexpectedly – and there is no time even to pray or to ask the Lord for deliverance. At such times safety lies, not in a prayer for deliverance, but in realizing the fact that Christ is delivering us without even our asking Him, and in such an instant we are to thank the Lord for deliverance, not ask Him for it. Trumbull said, ‘The word in 2 Corinthians 12:9 is not “My grace will be sufficient for you, whenever you ask for it. The word is: ‘My grace IS sufficient for you!’” We simply have to rest upon that fact. And resting upon it, we thank God and praise Him.
After the meeting, Trumbull received a letter from a Christian worker who had been very dissatisfied with his spiritual life. That worker wrote: ‘Your illustration about the fraction of a second being insufficient for the framing of a prayer directly touched my problem. The great big ‘IS’ (in 2 Corinthians 12:9) goes with me as my guardian, and I am experiencing something new. I know that the Lord can and will take care of the things (temptations) that crop up suddenly.’
That little two-letter verb IS was the Lord's wonderful word to Paul in his painful and prolonged trial over the 'thorn in his flesh' (2 Corinthians chapter 12). And through Paul that great fact has been conveyed to every child of God, yea, to the entire church, the body of Christ. It is the very spoken word of Christ (rarely found outside of the four gospels), and it is a veritable ‘rock of ages’. We can stand upon it; we can rest in faith upon it.
Trumbull further reflected on this verse. As he meditated over it, it seemed that the Holy Spirit spoke to him. ‘Is not that little word ‘is’ the same as the verb in God’s own name, rendered as ‘I AM’? God is, and faith believes that God is. Further, what God says to be a fact is a fact, whatever men may say about it. And God’s facts are everlasting, almighty and all-sufficient facts, as everlasting as the Eternal, Almighty and All-Sufficient God.
Trumbull further reflected on the title ‘I AM’. That was the name by which God made Himself known to Moses by the burning bush. ‘I AM’ is rendered Jehovah or LORD. It is pre-eminently God’s redemption name. It occurs in passages which recount the redeeming and saving work of Jehovah (LORD) on behalf of His chosen people. To Moses, God revealed Himself as the One who had come to redeem His people Israel.
The name Jehovah (YHWH, or I AM) speaks of the wonderful covenant relationship that the Redeemer God has with His people through the blood of the Passover lamb. So the Passover speaks of the covenant of the cross, because the blood shed was the Blood of the Lamb. And that ‘Lamb of God’ is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The blood poured out on the cross is the very life of our Lord Jesus, and that is the basis of the grace of God which works so mightily on our behalf. That grace works (and is still working in us), even without our asking for it. All that we have to do is to believe in the fact. And that fact is: God’s grace IS sufficient for us. The moment we believe in the fact, then divine omnipotence is released into our lives and into the critical situation we are facing – and we become ‘more than conquerors’ and rejoice in that our Lord is always ‘leading us on in triumph’, Rom 8:37, 2 Cor 2:14.
Trumbull also reflected on the word ‘My’ – which refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He realized that even though our needs are great, so great as to leave us at times frustrated and almost in despair, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is immeasurably greater. For it is written: Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, Rom 5:20.
Trumbull went on the recount the story of Webb-Peploe, a young Christian minister of England, associated with the Keswick Movement. Way back in 1874, Webb-Peploe had gone to a seaside place with his wife and youngest child who was only a year old. There he met Sir Arther Blackwood, an elderly Christian. The older man asked the younger man: ‘Have you got ‘rest’?’ – referring to the ‘rest’ spoken of in Hebrews 4.
‘I hope so,’ replied the young minister. ‘What do you mean by hope so?’ was the further question. ‘Well, I believe that all my sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, and I further believe that He will take me home to heaven when I die.’
‘Yes, but what about the time in between? Have you rest in all your work as a clergyman, facing all your parish troubles?’
‘No, I wish I had,’ said the young minister honestly.
‘I too want that rest,’ said Sir Arthur. ‘Today the great Oxford Convention begins (1875). Mrs Trotter is going to write me every day an account of the Oxford meetings. So you and I can meet and pray that God will give us this blessing of the ‘rest of faith’ which they are going to speak of there. God is not confined to Oxford; He is present here, right on this beach.’
For three days the two men met together and prayed, and then Webb-Peploe's little child was suddenly taken away by the Heavenly Father. The young minister took the little body home, and reached there much wounded in feeling, through contact with thoughtless people who did not understand his circumstances. After the funeral, he began to prepare a sermon to preach to his people. He took for his text the passage found in the lesson for the day, 2 Corinthians 12:9—"My grace is sufficient for thee." He spent some two hours in working on the sermon, and then he said to himself: "It is not true; I do not find it sufficient under this heavy trouble that has befallen me," and his heart cried out to God to make His grace sufficient for his hour of sore need and crushing sorrow.
As he wiped the tears away from his eyes he glanced up and saw over his study table an illuminated text-card that his mother had given him. The words read, "My grace IS sufficient for thee" - the word "is" being in bold type and in a different color from all the other words in the text.
And Webb-Peploe said 45 years later, as he recalled the incident, that he seemed to hear a voice saying to him: "How dare you ask God to make what is? Believe His word. Get up and trust Him, and you will find it true at every point."
He took God at His word, he believed the fact (resting upon the word IS), and his life was revolutionized.
He entered into such an experience of rest and peace, such trust in a sufficient Saviour, as he never before had dreamed could be possible. Within a month the governess in the family said to Mrs. Webb-Peploe, "The farmers are remarking how much changed the vicar is: he does not seem fretful any more, but seems to be quiet and gentle about everything."
And from that day to this, 45 years later, (c.1920), many have praised God that the life of this great man of God is a testimony to the sufficiency of the grace which God declares is a FACT.
So what do we learn from the story of Trumbull and the story of Webb-Peploe. We learn that “The secret of victory is not praying, but praising God: not asking, but thanking Him.” All eternity will not be long enough to for us to praise and thank and worship our Lord Jesus Christ for the simple, glorious fact that His grace IS sufficient for us.
[Adapted from Charles Trumbull (1923)]