Who remembers playing the game “Uncle?” It was kind of a mean game, actually, if memory serves me correctly. Someone would inflict some kind of pain or torment on you until you were ready to quit. Ready to admit defeat. Cry for mercy.
Uncle! Enough! I give up.
Have you ever felt that way in life? Yea, me too.
Life can be busy with a husband and three kids involved in all their activities, a job, being on staff at the church, the blog, the house stuff, groceries and cooking, and…and…and…
Uncle! I give up.
I. Can’t. Add. One. More. Thing!
But…what do you do when you can’t cry uncle? When you can’t drop something?
When you can’t cry Uncle, there’s this beautiful, wonderful, amazing, refreshing thing called grace.
It’s a breath of fresh air when you’ve been stuck inside all winter. It’s like the smell after a spring rain. It’s like the sound of the ocean waves.
It’s a cold cup of water on a hot summer’s day. It’s Calgon and the Nestea plunge and a cool breeze all rolled into one.
And I recently sat on a beach in Kauai at sunrise, crying to the Lord with tears streaming down my face, “Uncle! When is this going to change? When will things slow down? When is breakthrough coming?”
And then He gave me the answer no one wants to hear –
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength). (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 amp)
“Ummmm….Lord? That wasn’t what I was going for here. That wasn’t the answer I was looking for! Do you have something else? I don’t want grace…I want change!”
So He gave me another verse, and this one was even more fun –
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Philippians 4:13)
So, I did what everyone does when they don’t get the answer they’re looking for. I boo-hoo’d and wallowed and woe-is-me’d a bit, which to be honest didn’t help at all. (I know, right? Shocker! It didn’t change a thing to wallow!)
But then I decided to really soak in the scriptures He gave me. (Duh!)
Paul wanted to cry Uncle. He begged God to take his thorn away…”Please! Change this! Take it away! Make my situation different!”
Paul tells us what his thorn was in verse 10. It was infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses.
Some get caught up in that word infirmities and just say, “Paul was sick and God wouldn’t heal him.”
That word can also mean feebleness. He was human. He had limits. He got tired and weak and hungry. He couldn’t “do it all” so to speak.
He probably got up early and stayed up late. He worked a day job as a tentmaker and ministered after that. He studied and preached and “prayed more than you all.” He wrote letters and encouraged the churches and carried the concern for them daily in prayer. And mix that with the persecutions and beatings and the shipwreck and spending a day and night in the deep and..and..and..
And he cried Uncle!
And God answered, “Grace.”
And everything changed for Paul. And everything can change for us too.
Oh, the situation may not change immediately. The season my not instantly change. But its effect on us will change. Immediately. Instantly. Completely. Thank God!
Paul went from begging God for change to glorying in the situation he wanted Him to take away. In fact, he was well-pleased with it. He took pleasure in the hardships and persecutions.
Because He got to see the power of God in manifestation. He got to see it. Feel it. Experience it. And it was enough.
When God’s grace rests on you, dwells in you, and pitches a tent over you, it doesn’t matter what your day looks like. You’re bulletproof! Like Mr. Magoo.
You walk around with stress and mess and busy and chaos all around you, and you’re covered in a tent of grace that keeps it from sticking to you. From draining you. From stealing your peace and sucking all the life out of you.
There are times when we cry Uncle and ask God for help and He changes the situation. He does. He did it for Moses (Numbers 11:14-17).
But there are times where we cry Uncle and He says, “Here’s My grace. This is all you need. I am all you need. Just press into Me. I’ve got you.”
And all that remains is learning how to lean into that grace. And it is a learned behavior. Paul learned it (Philippians 4:11-12). We’ll learn it too. If you haven’t perfected it yet, don’t worry. Don’t give up. Just keep pressing in.
If you’re ready to cry Uncle today, know that I’m praying for you. I’m praying He’ll pour out His grace on you and saturate you with His peace and presence.
Whatever you’re facing, you’re not alone. And until there’s breakthrough, there’s grace.