Grace Immersion

Day 45

Sustaining Grace

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7–10

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 12:9

My father-in-law, Paul Ettinger, was shot.

He’d been chairing a meeting of the homeowner’s association in his senior citizen neighborhood near Sun City, Arizona when a disgruntled former resident came in armed to the teeth and opened fire on the board members and everyone else in attendance.

Paul’s first indication that anything was out of the ordinary was when he saw bits of paper floating through the air in front of him. He thought, “Why is someone throwing confetti at a time like this?” Then he looked down and saw the neat, round hole right between his first and last names on the nameplate on the table. And then he traced the path of the bullet through the stack of papers in front of him — the source of the “confetti” — right into his chest. Then he fell over.

As he lay on the ground bleeding, Paul heard more shots and then shouts. He discovered later that a small elderly man who had been standing in the back of the room had taken a chance and rushed the gunman, remembering his high school football training to “hit ’em hard and hit ’em low!” As soon as the surprised gunman toppled over one of the other retirees in the room yelled, “Get him, boys!” By the time police arrived the murderer was trussed up with rope from the supply closet and yelling for mercy.

After my father-in-law recovered fully from his wounds I asked him what he felt and thought during that time. He told me, “I was not afraid at all, and that surprised me. I felt the presence of God. I knew I was going to be OK, no matter what happened.” My mother-in-law, June, echoed that statement. “I am normally such a worrier,” she remembered, “But I just felt the presence of God like a comforting blanket. I just knew He was with us and things would be all right.”

She said in all the chaos the only prayer she could think to pray was, “Jesus help us,” over and over. “And I knew He was hearing that simple prayer,” she told me. “It was almost a physical sense of His presence, as if He was right there next to me.”

What my mother- and father-in-law experienced was God’s sustaining grace. This is another peak in the panorama.

God promises you His presence, not a trouble-free existence. In fact He warns there will be trouble. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). That’s a promise. You have His word on it.

Keep reading, though. Jesus then says, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

That implies that just as Christ received grace to help Him in His time of need, so will you! And just as Christ ultimately overcame the world through His resurrection, you will too — by the promise and power of God’s grace.

When and how have you experienced the sustaining grace of God in time of trouble?

Bring to God a tough time you are experiencing — and pray for someone you know going through a tough time too. Ask for God to richly bless with His sustaining grace!