Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
I. Introduction: Receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior doesn’t guarantee we will never again suffer in this life. The world is a fallen place, and Christians are not exempt from adversity. The good news is, grace enables us to face life challenges with confidence and assurance. More than simply providing forgiveness, it sustains us through trials.
A. Sustaining grace is God’s answer to the painful circumstances of life.
- He won’t always change your circumstances. For example, the apostle Paul was persecuted (2 Cor. 11:23-28).
- God allows us to suffer when it fulfills His purpose for our lives. Paul prayed fervently for relief from his “thorn.” God didn’t remove it because it served a purpose–to keep him from becoming proud (2 Cor. 12:7).
- God’s power is most evident in our weakness. Paul wrote that he could face anything and be content (Phil. 4:11). He knew God’s grace was sufficient to carry him through difficult times (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
B. Sustaining grace enables us to continue when circumstances don’t change.
- When God doesn’t answer our prayers, it’s natural to wonder if He cares about our troubles. Satan wants us to distrust God, handle life on our own, and focus more on our loss than on the Lord.
- Grace enables us to come to God when we feel confused. He isn’t angered by our questions or difficulty in trusting Him.
C. We know these truths about sustaining grace:
- Giving up is unjustifiable. God is on your side.
- The Father always has valuable lessons for us in adversity. Let previous hardships in your life teach you how to respond in difficult times.
- God doesn’t promise an explanation. He wants you to trust Him.
- God has a purpose for every crisis and will use it for good (Rom. 8:28).
D. How does grace work?
- Grace releases supernatural strength to keep going in the midst of pain, suffering, and loss. The Holy Spirit helps us face adversity.
- Grace ignites determination to keep going.
- Grace reminds us that God is always with us.
- Grace points us toward the Father’s goal in allowing trials. We can be content knowing we are in the center of His will.
- Grace reminds us that God uses trials to strengthen our faith and deepen intimacy with Him.
- Grace assures us that the Lord sets limitations on what can happen to His children.
- Grace gives us faith to believe God will transform tough times into something good.
III. Closing: When you feel discouraged and weary, take heart. Your heavenly Father still cares about you. As you remain in close fellowship with Him, God will give you the ability to tackle life’s challenges with divine peace and joy. That’s the power of sustaining grace.