…where the grace of God cannot sustain us.
As a young church planter in the early 1980’s, I remember feeling like I just could not do the job. People opposed me, church growth seemed terribly slow, I was working so many hours yet seeing what seemed like so little progress. It seemed that either I was out of the will of God or that God’s grace didn’t extend to this calling.
In retrospect, that perspective was an illusion. The church eventually grew, we reached many with the Gospel, we became self-supporting right on schedule, I began to hire staff, God provided a building, I never missed a single paycheck. That church, started in 1981, still has an active ministry after 35 years!
As Billy Graham says in this quote, the will of God did NOT take me anywhere His graced did not sustain me. It just seemed like He wasn’t doing enough.
I don’t know how you’re feeling today. Perhaps you’re dealing with a terrible illness, perhaps the death of a dear friend or family member, perhaps financial shortcoming, perhaps opposition and unfair pressure or persecution.
But God will sustain you and He has a plan.
Recently my daily Bible reading brought me to the story of Joseph. Do you remember what happened to him? He was hated by his brothers, sold by them into slavery (although some would rather have killed him), falsely accused of rape, put in prison for about 2 years, had friends who were executed, and could have been himself.
But God was there to sustain him through it all. When vindicated and again face-to-face with his brothers he concluded, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20a ESV)
Did Joseph suffer? Yes!Was he horribly betrayed? Yes!Was he incredibly abandoned? Yes!Did he have reason to wonder if God was working? Yes!
Yet the will of God never took him where the grace of God could not sustain him.
He faithfully served God, even in slavery and imprisonment. In the end, God lifted him to a remarkable place of second in the Kingdom.
You and I probably won’t ever be elevated to such a high position, but the point remains: “The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”
When we suffer, when we are abandoned and betrayed, let’s remember that God is still working, still sustaining, still making “all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)
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