2 Corinthians 12:8-9
For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.…
I. There is grace always promised to the people of God in their necessities, BUT NOT GRACE MORE THAN IS NEEDED FOR THE OCCASION THAT CALLS IT FORTH. God does not fling the gifts of His grace carelessly from His throne without reference to the special circumstances or need of His people. Strength is imparted accurately meted out to the emergency. Were grace imparted more than sufficient for the present need it would be positively injurious. If, after overcoming the trial of to-day, the Christian had still a store in hand that might suffice for to-morrow, he would feel as if absolved from the necessity of prayer and watchfulness for the future. God knows too well our proneness to self-righteousness to give the temptation to independence; He knows too well how inclined men are to security and sloth, to lay in their way this inducement to inactivity. Yet how many are there, even of the children of God, who murmur against such an arrangement, and passionately long for such a store of grace as shall exempt them from the feeling of present weakness, and set them at ease on the score of coming danger! There is a striking analogy in this respect between the dealings of God in His providence and the dealings of God in His grace. The petition in the Lord's prayer, "Give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3), sufficiently points out the limits of a Christian's duty and expectations in regard to his worldly portion. And just as the man who gathers perishable wealth is often seen striving to be rich, that he may at last say to himself, "Soul, take thine ease: thou hast much goods laid up for many years"; so, in like manner, the Christian, in the midst of his weakness and fears, is often seen eager for such a measure of grace and strength as may not only meet the present difficulty, but set his soul at ease as regards future trouble or temptation. But it may not be. Your life in this world must be a life of constant, childlike, entire dependence on God.
II. There is grace promised to the believer in every season of trial, BUT NOT GRACE BEFORE IT IS NEEDED. Both in regard to the measure of grace communicated to His people, and in regard to the time when it is imparted, God would distinctly teach us that He keeps the matter in His own hand. God gives grace to His people in their necessities, but not until the necessity occurs. And why is the grace thus delayed until the hour when it is required, and not imparted beforehand to sustain the soul in the prospect, as well as in the experience, of the conflict? Just because "it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of his God" (Lamentations 3:26). What shall we say to such a burdened and trembling disciple? We would say, It is not right to compare your present spiritual state with your future or possible trials in the months or years that are to come. The grace that God has given you to-day is intended for the duties of to-day; and it is sufficient for them. If the duties that are allotted for you in the future, or the temptations that shall assail you, are harder to meet than the present, then you may rest assured that a larger measure of strength than you now enjoy will be imparted. And yet, how many are there of the children of God, weak in faith and faint in hope, who disquiet themselves in vain, and draw their souls into trouble by such unwise anticipations of the future as these!
III. There is grace promised to the people of God in their necessities, and GRACE NOT LESS THAN IS NEEDED. The dying man, though weak and worn, has found in that hour provision against all its trials. Like the patriarch of old, he has gathered up his feet into the bed, ready, yea eager, to be away.
(James Bannerman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.