It was against the law to share the Gospel, yet nothing, not even the risk of death, could keep the Christian from speaking what he knew to be true. As his ministry grew, so did the disapproval of the king, until eventually one day he was arrested, bound and imprisoned. His crime was sharing Jesus; his sentence was death.
The night before he was to be burned at the stake, the prison guard delivered his final meal by candlelight. Anxious, no doubt, about the next day's events, the man tried to hold his hand over the small flame, praying for the courage to endure the fire. Yet despite his determination, each time his instincts demanded he forcefully retract it.
"How will I have the strength to endure this?" the man cried out to God. "Today even my hand cannot bear what my whole body will suffer tomorrow!"
As the sun rose the next day, the man was led by shackles to the stake. Crowds watched. Some mocking. Some mourning. Yet nothing anyone could do would change the outcome. Suffering was coming.
The man was laid upon the wood. The fire was lit. And his flesh began to burn. But it was not the fire that consumed him. Something else was more powerful than the flame.
As scorching heat moved up his body, God's grace poured down over him. "God's grace is sufficient for me!" he announced as he was ushered into eternal peace. The man who couldn't hold five fingers over the flame breathed his last breath testifying to the sufficiency of grace.
Right now, I'm walking through that fire. Some of you are there with me. You've lost a loved one too soon, you're fighting for your marriage, you're praying for a lost child, you're rebuilding what was destroyed.
There are others who are watching the flames, supposing you would not have the strength to endure them. You would if God asked you to.
God is not wasteful with His grace. It was purchased at a great price, the blood of His Son, Jesus. Not a single drop is poured out without purpose. Yet when we need it, His grace is enough.
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9