God’s Grace Abounds – Even When We Don’t See it

“That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)

God’s grace is always sufficient, but it’s not always easy to recognize. Let me give you a real-life example.

Thirteen years ago, my wife, Robbie, had basal cell carcinoma. It’s a harmless form of skin cancer, but you have to remove it, or it will just keep growing. Robbie had a small spot removed from her chin. About a year later, she noticed another spot in the same area and made an appointment with her dermatologist to take a look at it, thinking the surgeon may not have gotten it all the first time around.

What she thought was a routine office visit to take care of a harmless spot on her chin progressed to something far more serious. “That’s nothing to worry about,” her doctor told her. “But what’s that?” she said, pointing to a spot just above her left breast line.

Our perspective about skin cancer quickly changed. A biopsy revealed “that” was malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that spreads rapidly if unchecked.

We immediately scheduled Robbie for surgery, then appealed to our readers for prayers. “We are fortunate in many ways”, I explained to them. “First, we have a wonderful, healing God to whom we can turn in times like these; secondly, because we live in Durham, NC, we have the Duke University Medical Center, and a very gifted surgeon who will perform the surgery; and finally, we have you, and ask that you keep Robbie in your prayers in the days to come.”

One of the blessings that come from crisis is the realization that we are not alone. Our readers responded with much more than prayers. Robbie received hundreds of emails teeming with encouragement and the pledge to pray for God’s touch. Her spirits were greatly lifted by their outpouring of Christian love.

Robbie went back to the doctor two weeks after the surgery to have the stitches removed. The doctor told her, “We got it all,” referring to the pathology report. On the way home, she told me, “I think I’m going to go in and have a good cry.” And why not? Cancer – and all the anxiety it brings with it – is scary. Even for those with a strong faith like Robbie’s, it ultimately takes its toll.

The psalmist proclaimed that God is a “very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) I thought about that verse when Robbie first learned that she had malignant melanoma. In fact, I told her that God’s grace never ceased to amaze me. “Look at it this way,” I explained. “Where would we be if that spot hadn’t reappeared on your chin?”

God took care of melanoma before we realized it was even there. I will always believe that spot on Robbie’s chin – which turned out to be nothing – was God’s way of saying, “Let’s take care of that other spot before it gets out of hand.” Indeed, God is good all the time.

When we go through trials, we may not recognize that God’s grace is already at work. That’s a promise from him, not from me. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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