Saturday, May 26, 2012

God's "No"

God invites and strongly urges us to continually be in conversation with Him about everything - He calls that "prayer."  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "keep on praying;"  Philippians 4:6 enjoins "don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything;" and John 15:7 informs that "you may ask any request you like."  Knowing that God gives good gifts to His children, we often pray and expect the answer to be the thing that will benefit us or give us pleasure.

However, there are times when God says, "No" to our request.  Jesus entreated His Father three times, when praying in the garden, to have this "cup taken away from Him," but God said, "No."  Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12, went to God three times to ask that the "thorn" he was given be taken away, but God said, "No." 

What do we do when God says "No?" According to Paul in 2 Corinthians, when that answer arrives against all of our reason, we receive:
  • an ongoing abundance of God's grace that is sufficient for our weakness.  
  • a realization that our weakness (or "No" answer) is an opportunity for God's strength and power to be demonstrated rather than for our pride, strength, or desire to get top billing. 
  • the growth to say, "not my will but Yours be done." 
  • an opportunity to trust Him more than a "Yes" would.
  • the deeper faith that trusts God for the future that we do not see or understand.
Someone said, "God cannot use a person greatly until He wounds him deeply."  That was true for Jesus (the cross), Paul, Lazarus, and other giants of the faith.

Have you found His strength, grace, and a demonstration of His power when He has said "No" to your deepest request?

I would love to hear how God's "No" answers have grown and blessed you ~        Bob

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