Saturday, June 20, 2020
So the answer is No, now what?
Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Acts 12:2–3a
Can you accept God's will when His answer is no? If you are praying in God's will, He will always answer you when you pray (Jer. 33:3). However, sometimes His answer will be no. King Herod arrested Peter and prepared to have him executed. During the night, as his church prayed, Peter's life was spared when an angel freed him. God miraculously answered the prayers of His people that night. Yet not long before, James, too, had been arrested by Herod. James, however, was executed. Surely the church had prayed for James as fervently as they did for Peter, yet that time God's answer had been no. Did God love Peter more than James? Of course not. James had been one of Jesus’ closest friends. Yet God allowed James to die while He continued to use Peter in His service. The church in Jerusalem did not become bitter toward God. They accepted His answer because they trusted His love and wisdom. There are times when God wants us to persist in our praying until He has completed His work in us (Luke 11:5–8; 18:1–6). However, when God's answer is no, it is futile to continue pleading for a yes. Some refuse to take no for an answer, insisting that if you pray long enough and hard enough, God will ultimately grant any request you make. It is an affront to your Lord to continue pleading with Him when He has clearly said no. The purpose of prayer is not to conform God to our will but to adjust our will to God. We must learn to trust God so that if He says no, we accept that His will is best. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
So after praying and praying it seems that the answer is not just no, but NO. When to persist?
There was an incident recently in my life when I thought, an believe me I was 100% convinced, that I was about to be promoted at work. The situation when I left the company years ago my perception of things was that I was avoiding the role and responsibility presented to me by God. That I was running from God's will for me.
Years later the impossible happened and in ways that I could scarcely believe possible, God made it possible for me to return to to the scene of my 'crime'.
In a years time things were astoundingly different. God was enabling me to do so much under the management that was now there. Yet when this situation of promotion came, I really really believed it was my second chance to do what I ran away from. But then I didn't get it. I was as perplexed as I could be. The evidence was there the numbers were there showing all sorts of evidence that even as a backup doing a larger role...it went to someone else.
I didn't understand. So I questioned it and questioned it until management gave an answer. Suffice to say the answer really didn't hold water but it was what they are sticking to. The answer from God, in other words was a resounding NO. I had gotten my answer an needed to move on. The real evidence is that I was missing was that my role as a highly successful fill in Lead is going to be a stepping stone to something else. Something else is what God has in mind for me. My job is to do the will of the one who sent me to work where I do, to the best of my ability, as unto the Lord. As you read in the book of Esther, and cross referencing with Daniel, in due time, God raises up people and establishes whom He wishes at the right time.
A no today might not be a forever no. It's God's plans that are being worked out in this world, not our every whim. If my desires, even as a Christian, were always met by God, to be truthful, brutally truthful, I would be the most miserable of people. Because it would always be my idea of what's best for me, not God's idea of what's best not just for me but those in whom He's working on and with that are around me.
Think about your prayer requests. Is there elements of selfishness to them? Hey, be truthful, many of mine are. Nobody likes pain, suffering, on any level. Nobody is going to ask for more because they just can't get enough. But we do often ask with wrong motives. Jesus spoke to this fact.
Praying, at its heart, is to be filled with honesty. Truth. Not sugar coated. Just truth. Not couched in a lengthy convincing argument. Truth. Jesus defines Truth. The Holy Spirit defines Truth. God the Father defines Truth. Children always try to sway the parent to their idea of it. When examined in the light of truth then a parent will act.
Pray unceasingly is what Scripture says. It's to be like breathing. You unceasingly breathe. You unceasingly take in nourishment at regular intervals. You unceasingly move when awake.
You may indeed get a no from God, but it's not the end of the world. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
I didn't get promoted. Am still filling in as a type of Coordinator. But what God has still required of me is to do my best. Regardless. Not pouting, not grumbling. My best is what's required by God. He He Himself will affirm and establish me in what He has in mind in due time.
Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.