Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about how many of my friends are beginning the New Year facing trials and problems. Many are elderly and suffering with painful medical problems. Other friends have family problems of various kinds, or work related problems, or financial ones. I have heard the fatigue in their voices as they smile and try to pretend that all is well. We do tend to try to hide our problems from others, but somehow those who love us sense our discouragement.
In my mid-eighties, I often feel discouraged myself as I push through my days. I am unable to do the things I used to do ~ feeling no strength and often troubled by pain which keeps me from accomplishing anything useful. I was experiencing one of those days a few weeks ago and had been complaining to the Father. “I don’t know how long I can hold out, Father,” I sighed. “I am so sick of this useless life; the inability to be productive; the struggle to keep my mind active and not allow myself to settle into the apathy I see in many of my elderly friends.” I felt the stirrings of resentment begin to creep into my mind.
I was pretty much confined to the sofa that day. Walking and standing were difficult and I have learned over time to work on those days when I can work, and rest on those days when I don’t feel up to it. The pain and the effects of my meds had made this a “rest day”. To keep my mind off things I had been alternating between reading, streaming old movies, and scrolling YouTube for Christian music. Purely randomly (I thought) I chose to watch a video of a Gospel quartet singing that old Gospel song, “He Giveth More Grace”. I don’t know how I have missed it in the past, but I had never heard that song before. There was a gentle introduction on an acoustic guitar, and then in a thoughtful kind of tempo there came these words ~
He giveth more grace when the burden grows deeper;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
His love has no limits;
His grace has no measure;
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limits; His grace has no measure…
It was one of those wonderful moments when you feel that God has answered you directly. I felt the tension and anxiety drain out of me, and I must admit I felt tears filling my eyes. As I absorbed the truth of this lovely old song, I relaxed back into a sense of peace and calm and very real gratitude.
How often I need to be reminded that I can share the burden with the Lord. I keep making the assumption that I have to do it all myself; that the burden always rests on me. It is so hard to catch all the ways we try to wrest control away from God and take it back to ourselves. We blind ourselves to the fact that in all these problems which we face as human beings and over which we have no control, are opportunities to trust Him and exercise our readiness to accept His will. Over and over I have found that willing submission is always accompanied by deeper understanding of Him and of the life in Christ. Yet, with every new trial or problem it seems I must learn the same lesson over again. The desire to put self ahead of trust is very strong. Sometimes it takes me a long time before I recognize that here again is the same conflict: continue to struggle against His will or trust and obey. Yet, because I have also been learning the sufficiency of Christ, eventually I know I must submit.
In every situation I have found that not only is He sufficient to supply my every need, He gives abundantly over and above. I only have to think of the Cross to see how much He loves us; how much He wants our good.
I feel confident that in each of our lives are problems of some kind. I just wanted to share this moment and the hope that all of us will begin this New Year with a spirit of gratitude and a resolution to trust and obey through every situation that comes our way. Gratitude is the least we owe Him… this God Whose every desire is for our good, and Whose grace has no measure.
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.” (II Corinthians 12: 9)