GodReflection: Breathing Grace
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – The Lord God
I’d make a lousy counselor.
Counselors do what the name implies. They guide, counsel, and coach. They aren’t behavioral mechanics who fix people’s problems for them.
I am a card carrying member of the Baby Boomer generation. I want to fix everything. It’s in my DNA to believe that with a roll of tape, some wire, hard work, and creative will power eventually there is a solution.
A treasured friend, coworker, and mentor was the late Dr. Clyde Austin. He was the consummate psychologist and counselor. He listened to people’s problems.
On more than one occasion he commented as to the difficulty of being a vessel that carried around the knowledge of everyone’s baggage while professionally sworn to silence.
Yet, some way or another—content to guide rather than repair—he managed to help and serve with the knowledge that he was powerless to fix.
Upon his retirement I met him one morning in front of a local coffee shop. With a smile on his face he announced that he had just placed his Practice License in the mail to close out his profession work. I could almost see the burdens lift from his countenance.
Unlike Dr. Austin the wise counselor it’s far too easy for me to want to fix rather than to guide with patience. I want to repair the baggage. I don’t like to live with the not fixable.
I find it interesting that Paul the apostle bitten by a poisonous snake on the island of Malta wasn’t affected. Then he healed all of the sick while he lived with the unhealable (the unfixable) in his own body.
God did a supernatural act in Paul’s life. He took him on a visit to the corridors of eternity.
What the apostle saw was beyond human comprehension. Words failed him.
He was transported into the presence of the Holy for a preview of reality after death to be experienced by all disciples.
And, so he tells his story:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
At the age of 52 a blood clot left me with chronic pain in my legs. Instead of the three-time request of Paul I acted more like the widow of Luke 18 with persistent knocking.
I would have been at peace sooner had I claimed earlier the reality of God’s message to the apostle, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Life is filled with the unfixable.
There are times when relationships are beyond repair. Health will never return. Children may be broken. No amount of tape, wire, hard work, or creative will power on the part of parents resolve the disrepair.
All around me I see people who hurt and suffer to degrees far beyond my imagination. There is no resolution in sight.
There is only one viable solution.
Just one promise can bring peace. We can only breathe deeply of grace from the breath of God and hang onto His promise of sufficient grace: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Because of God’s breath of grace my story will end well. That Holy breath of grace will allow me to join the apostle in due time. I will tour God’s eternity that is so grand were I to see it in my human body I would be left speechless.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Grace and the Unsolvable.