Can we trust God?
Often when I read scripture, I will run across a passage that jumps out at me. Then, it seems like for days I keep going back to it, gathering encouragement from it. In the Second letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 9, verse 8, this happened again.
Here is the passage:
"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work."
Wow! Paul is making quite a claim here! And why would he do that? Because he had a lived experience of this. As he traveled around, he met with all kinds of obstacles and he endured much suffering, yet the spreading of the gospel prevailed. If Paul can have this kind of confidence, then surely we can too, for God never runs out of grace!
Imagine yourself in a position where your need is great and you simply cannot conceive of how it is going to be filled, and you come across this passage. Maybe you are a program director in need of volunteers, or a parent without job prospects, or you are down on your luck altogether.
These few verses are a powerful reminder that we should never give up. Do we imagine that God is on vacation and not paying any attention to us? Paul isn't saying that God simply walks with us, but that he is involved in our lives. Paul isn't saying that God gives us a little help. He is saying that God's grace is overflowing, it is more than we need!
What is this good work that God provides an abundance for? Our work has many layers to it, ministry and vocation being significant ones, but certainly one layer is our ability to trust in God and express our confidence in him, to those around us, even in the midst of our fears.
This is good work because it builds up the Body of Christ by drawing others into our joy and confidence, especially when they, too, are struggling.
As Christians, we live with many trials, but we do not despair, because our hope is always in God, who is our loving Father, who cares for us and provides for us.
You may ask, then, where the Father is when we are lost or despairing. He is there. In the middle of it, just like he was when his only Son died on the cross.
We must always look to the resurrection, to the joy that will one day come to us, when we face God and can say, "I have been a good and faithful servant."
It is not about being faithful in good times, but in difficult times as well. If we can manage through those by counting on God's abundant graces, joy will be our password throughout life.