Today I've found out about Oscar Pistorius who's faced, and is overcoming, some serious adversity:
His faith is an inspiration – and it is a faith that has given him legs to stand on. Faith in God. In God’s gifts. Faith, too, in his own ability to rise above the limitations put in his way.
While he has stood, he has also stood up —to doubt, mistrust, anger, criticism. Some athletes have argued that his prosthetic legs have given Oscar an unfair advantage in competition. But repeated tests have failed to prove it, which led to the decision last week to allow him to compete.
Another runner — a competitor and friend – once described Oscar Pistorius’s own personal piety. Before a qualifying race, as they were warming up, Oscar pulled him aside and quietly asked him to pray with him. His friend was impressed, but not surprised. Oscar, he said, was the only person he could think of who would do something like that.
It didn’t matter that they were in competition. What mattered is that they were both children of God.
And so are we all. If we think of our own lives, we all can think of problems that have been put in our way –obstacles we’ve had to overcome, or handicaps we’ve had to address, or weaknesses we’ve had to confront. In the letter to the Corinthians that we heard today, Paul described one of his weaknesses as a “thorn in the flesh.” But he realized that God’s grace will sustain him through any trial, despite any weakness.
“My grace is sufficient,” the letter says.
They are words we should remember – and not just because they are good words to live by. They are also words that will soon have special significance for this parish.
That is the phrase that our new pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez, has chosen for his episcopal motto. It appears on his coat of arms. I think it’s a statement of great humility. More importantly, it is a statement of great faith—of trust in God for anything and everything, no matter what.
As we gather around the Lord’s table, that place of abundant grace, let us pray for that kind of faith, that kind of trust. Let us never forget what God’s grace has done for us – and what it can still do.
When we are feeling weak, or helpless…God’s grace is sufficient.
When we are feeling rejected or despised, even by those who know us and love us…God’s grace is sufficient.
When we do not feel like we can stand on our own…God’s grace is sufficient.
When we need help to run the race…
God’s grace is sufficient.
What are you facing?