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Monday, May 9, 2016

When God Says NO!



To quote the infamous theologian Garth Brooks, "sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers." Seriously, Garth is not a theologian in the least, and he is wrong. There is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God answers all prayers. When we say we have an unanswered prayer, what we are most of the time saying is that God said no to what we want. No is an answer that God gives on many occasions. Even though it may hurt at the time, I want us to understand that when God says, "NO," it is right and exactly what we need.

One of the most known biblical examples of this occurs in 2 Corinthians 12. This is the text when the Apostle Paul is begging God to remove his thorn in the flesh. The text says he had asked on several occasions for God to remove the thorn, but much to Paul's chagrin God said no. He said no to Paul just as He has to all of us. There are just a few applications I want to point out that hopefully will help all of us out during those times in our lives.

First, God always knows best. DUH!! Any true believer would emphatically confess that God knows everything thus He knows best, so if God knows best, then we can take great comfort in knowing that when He says no, then it's best for us. Paul's thorn in the flesh was vitally important to his spiritual growth. He states in verse 7, "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited." So, Paul is confessing his ultimate need for the thorn even though he doesn't necessarily like it. It is imperative that we not mix our needs and greeds God knows what we need because He knows best. It is our simple duty to trust Him.

Secondly, God supplies us with what we need even in the times in which He says no. Paul quotes what God says to Him in his prayers in verse 9. " My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Wow!! God assures us that He will supply us with what we need to see us through these times. The grace of God will usher us through the times in which He does not give us what we supposedly 'need.' So, God doesn't give us what we need, but rather He gives us what He knows we need. It is a tremendous blessing to know that God doesn't only not give us what we don't need, but He also gives us what we do need.

Finally, it is better to have what God desires you to have than what you want. Paul concludes in the remainder of verse 9 and verse 10. "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." Paul ultimately boasted more about God because of His grace being supplied to him. It is okay to boast, as long as it is in God. Paul knew God could use him more because of God supplying the power instead of him. Paul says the most oxymoronic statement when he writes, 'when I am weak, then I am strong." What would seem to be impossible is actually true, because when Paul is weak, then God is supplying the power, and he is therefore infinitely stronger.

So, take heart from this text. When God responds to you with what you deem to be what your don't want, remember that He is all-knowing and all-powerful. God working through you is far greater than you living life on your own. I know I am, and you would be too, if you are are truthful, that God has said no on many occasions to us. Trust Him and His supply for your life.

--JCH

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