2 Corinthians 12:7-9: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three time 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Max Lucado, in his book, In The Grip of Grace, tells a story that illustrates the sufficient grace of God.
Here is the scene: You and I and a half-dozen other folks are flying across the country in a chartered plane. All of a sudden the engine bursts into flames, and the pilot rushes out of the cockpit. “We’re going to crash!” he yells. “We’ve got to bail out!”
Good thing he knows where the parachutes are because we don’t. He passes them out, gives us a few pointers, and we stand in line as he throws open the door. The first passenger steps up to the door and shouts over the wind, “Could I make a request?”
“Sure, what is it?” “Is there anyway I could get a pink parachute?” The pilot shakes his head in disbelief. “Isn’t it enough that I gave you a parachute at all?” And so the first passenger jumps.
The second steps to the door. “I’m wondering if there is any way you could ensure that I won’t get nauseated during the fall?” “No, but I can ensure that you will have a parachute for the fall,” said the pilot.
Each of us comes with a request and receives a parachute. “Please captain,” says one, “I am afraid of heights. Would you remove my fear?” “No,” he replies, “but I’ll give you a parachute.”
Another pleads for a different strategy, “Couldn’t you change the plans? Let’s crash with the plane. We might survive.”
The pilot smiles and says, “You don’t know what you are asking” and gently shoves the fellow out the door. One passenger wants some goggles, another wants boots, another wants to wait until the plane is closer to the ground.
“You people don’t understand,” the pilot shouts as he “helps” us, one by one. “I’ve given you a parachute; that is enough.”
Only one item is necessary for the jump, and he provides it. He places the strategic tool in our hands. The gift is adequate. But are we content? No. We are restless, anxious, even demanding.
Too crazy to be possible? Maybe in a plane with pilots and parachutes, but on earth with people and grace? God hears thousands of appeals per second. Some are legitimate. We, too, ask God to remove the fear or change the plans. He usually answers with a gently shove that leaves us airborne and suspended by his grace.
This is one of my favorite Max Lucado stories because for me it illustrates how sufficient and perfect the grace of God is for each of us. We want more, we demand more, but God reminds us that the grace he supplies to each of us is sufficient for our needs. If we are completely honest, we would admit that we don’t believe that most of the time. We ask God for healing, a raise or a better job, or even a miracle. And God says, not yet, for now my grace is all you need.
May the grace and peace of God be with you!
Source Used: In The Grip of Grace, Max Lucado, pages 129 and 130.