Pastoral Perspectives

GRACE, MORE GRACE

Have you ever poured your heart into something, only to be let down because you couldn’t accomplish it? I’m sure we all have our stories. Perhaps, we wanted to become someone, do something, or achieve something, but in the end, it didn’t happen. Can you recall times when you were disappointed? How did you move on? What helped you? For others, this might be exactly what they’re going through now. Their dreams, hopes, and future might seem bleak and disappointing as they stand at the crossroads of their lives.

Annie had dreamt of becoming a concert pianist. She was determined to make it, especially because as a child, she was orphaned and later adopted by godly parents who taught her about the Christian faith. But before she could achieve her dream, she developed severe rheumatoid arthritis that twisted her body, disfigured her fingers, and left her unable to walk. Sleep became elusive due to the extreme discomfort in her joints.

Yet, despite her suffering, Annie felt the presence of the Lord. She spent her days meditating on God’s words, His promises, and His presence even in her pain. Years later, after both her adoptive parents passed away, she found herself back where she started. Throughout it all, she continued to sense God’s presence, and out of her pain and suffering, she became a prolific poet and writer. She maintained a cheerful disposition, with those around her often noting her lack of complaints.

Her writings gained wide circulation and publication, serving as a source of comfort to many. Despite her constant pain, she wrote words of solace about God’s goodness, a dominant theme in her works. She recognized God’s sovereignty in her life, even as her body deteriorated. Readers were reminded that God is able to meet every trial and affliction with His grace, sufficient for each day.

We are reminded of Christ’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Her songs did not downplay the trials and sufferings believers endure. Instead, she reminded us that even amid trials and pain, God is ever present and offers more grace, much more than we need to carry on each day. One of the lines of her song reads:

“To added afflictions, he addeth his mercy

To multiplied trials, his multiplied peace”

As we approach the closing chapters of James, may we remember that He gives more grace, abundantly and continuously.

He Giveth More Grace

Lyrics: Annie Johnson Flint (1866- 1932)

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials He multiplied peace.

Refrain:
His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

May His grace be sufficient for you and in your weakness, suffering and trials, His power made perfect.