Although I was really tired and went to bed early, I laid awake for a while last night. My mind had lots of interesting stories to tell me. Some of the thoughts turned to taunting fears, as they can tend to do. So, I rolled onto my back, breathed deeply and prayed “Your grace is sufficient for me” over and over like a mantra. I was still awake, but felt peace. When fears whispered in my mind again, I returned to my mantra and deep breathing: “Your grace is sufficient for me…”
This morning a reminder popped up on my phone. It’s a verse from Matthew that helps ground me in dependence and trust in God. “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34. The word “sufficient” jumped out at me as my nighttime mantra still rang in my ears this morning.
In our world of constant striving and accumulation of better stuff, of keeping up with the Joneses and displaying curated lives on social media, the idea of sufficiency is often missing. We’re not often satisfied with just having an adequate house or enough money in the bank.
What’s this about trouble being sufficient for the day? No one wants trouble! But, trouble comes to us on a daily basis with small things like an overdrawn checking account and kids forgetting their lunches. It also comes in big things like a scary diagnosis, family conflict, and unemployment.
Each day is going to provide enough trouble that you don’t need to borrow trouble from tomorrow, while you’re living in today. But, the amazing thing is, God’s grace is all sufficient to handle today’s troubles. Then, when tomorrow’s problems become today’s troubles, God’s grace will provide the strength and guidance to get through that day. Then the next day… and on and on.
Being present in today is such an act of faith. It says that you trust God to provide the grace and love to navigate today.
Paul writes of God telling him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then he encourages the people of Corinth and us today by adding: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” 2Corinthians 12:8-11.
Strength out of weakness is not a value that gets much airtime these days. But, oh how I’ve found it to be true! When I humble myself and rely on God’s sufficiency (as restless nights lead me to), I’m met with such peace and comfort. Those days when I truly ask God to guide and empower my steps, are the richest days. As the Serenity Prayer reminds us, we can live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, accept hardships as the pathway to peace, and trust that he will make all things right if we surrender to his will.
It’s ironic that lying in bed, praying for God’s sufficient grace is when I’m actually the strongest.