2 Corinthians 12:8, 9a – Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (NIV)
Sometimes God says "No."
Over the years, I have pleaded to God for the healing of others, the mending of broken relationships, and the ability to overcome my problems immediately, only to discover that God isn't going to do what I ask. It comes as a shock to my system, for I'm so used to having God help me out. So, like Paul, instead of dealing with it and letting it go, I pray over and over again, thinking that God will eventually cave in and give me what I want. In other words, I'm trying to make God bend His will towards mine.
Eventually, I accept what God has said, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes with relief. God is not helping me out, but He is helping me. He's helping me to understand that I'm not at the center of His universe. He's helping me to realize that His grace is sufficient for everything I need, as opposed to having His power to achieve everything I want. It's a hard lesson, but it makes me more aware that He is the Sovereign of life, the universe, and everything.
Perhaps some of us are struggling with God, and we want Him to sort out all of our troubles. Perhaps, like me, we've approached Him time and time again about a particular situation, person, or problem. Perhaps, we believe that the time isn't right or that we just have to pray more, be more patient, or have more faith. Let's think about what we're praying for and honestly ask ourselves this question: "Has God already said 'No,' but I'm just not listening?"
Prayer: Lord God, we pray for the gift of discernment, the ability to understand each situation we experience. Help us to recognize and realize that Your ways are not our ways and that Your thoughts are not our thoughts. Teach us to be patient and enable us to take Your "No" as an answer to some of our prayers. In Christ's name, we humbly pray. Amen.
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