Sufficient: enough to meet the needs of a situation, fulfilling
All through high school, my English teachers told me not to start my essays by writing out the definition of a word. It was my staple item, my signature move; apparently, bad writing as well (if any of them are reading this, I am so sorry). But to me, defining a word sets the tone. It introduces the paper better than I ever could, which is why I am sitting on my couch trying to awkwardly create an introduction to one of the struggles God has consistently addressed in my life: insufficiency.
Back in February, I received a phone call from my dad that my grandfather had been taken to the hospital with multiple complications. The outcome was terminal, and my parents wanted us to come home as soon as possible to see him before he passed. Multiple thoughts ran through my head. He wouldn’t get to dance with me at my wedding like he always promised. He wouldn’t get to see me become a teacher or watch me start my own family. The man I had lived 10 miles from my whole life, the man who loved me and everyone around him so unconditionally, would be gone. I was devastated, again.
We all experience loss. Breakups, the end of friendships, death. I hate to be a downer, but it’s true. The world we live in is so imperfect and disappointing. Sure, we have great days, weeks, months, even years. But we all have moments that we wish would just go away. Getting teased in middle school for not being “popular”. Not getting into your dream school and having to re-plan the life you had created for yourself. Feeling inadequate when you don’t get your dream job. Losing one of your friends to a terminal illness. Hydroplaning your car into a tree at 60 MPH. Being told you’re not worth the effort of a relationship.
Receiving a phone call at 2 in the morning that your grandfather is gone and there’s nothing you can do.
I hate the feeling of weakness, vulnerability that I can do nothing about. I couldn’t stop the people I loved from suffering. I couldn’t stop my car from crashing into a tree. I couldn’t stop myself from entering into volatile relationships that were only going to destroy me. I couldn’t save my grandfather. Why?
Because I’m not enough. Because I’m not perfect. Because I’m not sufficient.
Because I need Christ.
The night before Grandpap passed away, I sporadically logged into my Tumblr account. Tumblr. Take that in for a second. Four years since the last time I had logged in. After sifting through posts from the impressionist movement and laughing at my love (obsession) for One Direction (Liam), I saw a Bible verse that I had posted my Sophomore year of high school.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ 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.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I didn’t know that 4 hours after I read this, my parents would wake me up to tell me my grandfather was gone. As I sat in the living room of my dorm emotionally drained and exhausted, all I could think of was that verse. I was sitting in another disappointment, another hardship, another devastation. I was weak.
But Christ was strong. And His power rested upon me.
When we experience these times in our lives, we try to compensate for our lowliness, to fix things ourselves. It’s in our sinful nature, our human flaws. But we can do absolutely nothing without Christ. John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Apart from Him, nothing. With Him, everything.
Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” How amazing is it that Christ gave Himself for us, in our sin and brokenness to have life with Him? That he looked at us, undeserving of all He is, and chose us to be His. That we can go directly to Him with everything we have, for He is our Great High Priest, interceding for us daily.
We live our lives discouraged by our weakness when in reality, our weakness is our need for Christ. Our weakness is His strength, and His strength becomes our own because He is sufficient.
There’s a song by Elevation Worship called “O Come to the Altar” (please please please check it out!!) that I started hearing almost everywhere when my grandfather was admitted to the hospital. There is so much beauty and truth in this song, but the part that has always stood out to me comes in the second verse. The lyrics say, “Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born. Jesus is calling.”
Jesus is calling you. Right here and now. In all your imperfections and sorrows, He is calling you to a new life in Him.
I don’t know who’s reading this, or what any of you that are have been looking for in your lives, but stop searching. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop tearing yourself down, saying you’re not good enough. Bring these sorrows and place them at the feet of Christ. He desires a relationship with you, he’s calling for your soul to be with Him. He desires to be enough for you, to fulfill you with joy. He desires to bring you the most abundant life there is. Sufficiency is something we search for every single day, and Christ alone can bring it into our lives. There is nothing more freeing than a full surrender to the Lord and trusting in Him for all.
God doesn’t promise us that our lives will get easier when we follow Him, but He does promise us that He will walk with us, work through us, and carry us home into eternity with Him. All we need to do is give Him our weaknesses, and He will give us His strength. Give Him our cross, and He will carry it forward. Give Him our lives, and He will give us life with Him. Eternal. Perfect. Sufficient.
Listen to “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship
Hey y’all! My name is Sarah Bishop, and I am currently a junior Psychology major at Christopher Newport University. It’s my dream to teach elementary school and pour my life into children in need. I’m in my second year of leadership here with Cru, and I am so grateful for the community Christ brought me to. I enjoy Pad Thai lunches with my friends/mom, quoting The Office, and my beloved pair of Birkenstocks that I wear way too often. My prayer is that in whatever season of life you have found yourself in, you can rest in the sufficiency of Christ and the perfect love He has for you.