During the past couple of days, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with coworkers who likely visualized me on a death bed at MD Anderson. As difficult as it is (from a repetitive standpoint) to share the details of the past four months, the connection with others who’ve experienced similar trials, or are close to someone who has, makes it all worth it.
Yesterday, I talked to man in his mid-forties who shared a recently diagnosed heart condition. He walks with his wife every day, and was lucky enough to be diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat before it became fatal.
Like me, he is grateful. This is what I mean when I talk about my leukemia being a blessing. I’m thankful to have been inspired and grateful for another opportunity to encourage.
“My grace is sufficient”
Despite the positive course of his current treatment, we talked about the other issues that are sometimes more difficult to manage, things like the cost of insurance, trying to balance work and doctor’s appointments, and the difficulty of defining the gray areas. As a contract employee, he stated that being on his wife’s insurance is really the only viable option they have. If he were to put them on his own plan, he’d essentially work to pay his insurance premiums. It’s not a great option.
Sadly, he shared that his wife is scheduled to be laid off at the end of next week. Not only will they lose a second income, they’ll lose the insurance they’ve come to rely on, adding an additional hardship to an already difficult situation.
Instead of feeling sorry for him and his wife, I was inspired. He spoke of Paul’s conversation with God about removing the thorn in his flesh (to be removed from the many hardships of life) and how God simply replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”* It is a verse I’ve relied on heavily the past few months, one that flips everything about this world on its head.
My grace is sufficient.
One definition of grace is “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action”. We don’t often think of things in those terms. Usually, we see life from a “alright, what do I have to do now” standpoint. We stress over the unknown and the unpredictable. Tomorrow sometimes makes us anxious. And yet, God refers to our circumstances as beautiful, free-flowing opportunities to see Him work in our lives. The burdens we face are inconsequential to fulfillment.
Ultimately, it’s not about us.
Yeah, but what about our responsibility to make things happen? “My grace is sufficient.” Well, I need to find insurance. “My grace is sufficient.” You don’t understand, if I have to spend my whole paycheck on insurance premiums, we’re going to struggle with our bills. “My grace is sufficient.” Life isn’t fair. “My grace is sufficient.” And we continue to wrestle with futility, sometimes our whole lives, celebrating the moments we feel we created ourselves. I know this because I’ve lived it. Even in those moments of arrogance (weakness), God says, “My grace is sufficient.”
I left the conversation full of joy. It was a reminder that we’re all connected, in one way or another. We all face hardships, it’s just that for some of us, they’re made known already. When the time comes, just remember that amidst all of your best efforts to control the uncontrollable, we can find contentment through the grace God continues to show us, even when you’re not paying attention.
Take a second to feel your pulse. Witness your chest rise and fall as you subconsciously inhale and exhale. Think about the eyes you’re using to connect with me and this blog post. Truly realize that you’re alive today.
“My grace is sufficient.”
*2 Corinthians 12:9