Friday, October 26, 2012

Dealing with No

There are times when God says "no" to our requests and when He does say "no" He does not need to give us a reason for His negative response, He does not owe us a rebuttal, He is not required to present us with an abstract detailing why He has said no, and He is not going to submit a synopsis of why our request has been rejected. When God says "no", He means "no". Like a loving and caring parent, there are times when God hears the cry of His children and His desire is to bless them, but His answer to their request is no. The problem is when He does say no we need to learn how to act.
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:7-10, KJV).Yes, God says no, but we don't know how to act when He does. But, how should we respond when the Lord says "no?"
First of all, we should respond with gratefulness because His answer of no protects us from the sin of human pride. God is so awesome that He can make the devil bless you! Here's how it works. In this passage Satan is allowed to "buffet" the Apostle Paul. It comes from the Greek word kolafidzo, it is in the present tense, active voice and subjunctive mood. It means to punch with the fist, over and over again. In short, the Lord lets the enemy just have at you from time to time. Now here's the million dollar question, why would a good, kind, and merciful God let Satan have a season with you? Here's the secret that will bless you like crazy, God knows that wounded children stay close to their Father and He just loves having you in His arms. Pride can be poison. It is the sin of the heart that makes you think that you can do it without God. But, the Lord has a way of fixing pride. Our God makes the devil bless you by permitting an attack that brings you so close to Him that you end up in His arms. So when the Lord says no you should be grateful because what He is really saying is "I want you in my bosom!" (Matthew 11:28).
Secondly, we should respond with gratitude because His answer of no prevents us from leaning towards human provision and presses us towards divine portions. If you have ever received an answer of no from God this should make your heart glad. God said" no" to you because the human provision that you wanted was not good enough for the divine provision that was on the way. Paul prays three times and the Lord does not do it. God does not heal him. God does not fix it. In short, God says "no!" But, there's a method to what appears to be total madness given in the text. While God is saying "no" to what is temporary for you, He is saying "yes" to that which is eternal that will keep you forever. Here's the discovery that takes place in the passage and it is enough to make anyone with common sense say "thank you Jesus!" When God says "no" it is because He has a divine portion of grace for you that is not like anything you've ever encountered. Now all of us have encountered the unmerited favor of God that we call grace. But, when the Lord gives you this grace you celebrate the fact that when you couldn't, God could. You shout about the fact that when you didn't do it, God did it for you. And when you could not go any further, the Lord carried you all of the way (2 Cor. 9:8).
Lastly we should respond with a shout of glory because that's what God gets when we praise Him through the pain. There are three ways to rejoice as a believer in Jesus Christ. First, you can rejoice over what the Lord has already seen you through. If you are like most God has already done some wonderful things for you and when you think about them they make you say "praise the Lord!" Secondly, you can rejoice over things the Lord has kept you from. And, lastly you can rejoice over the fact that God has you propped up right now. That's what Paul is giving God glory for in the passage. He says "...I would rather glory in my infirmities because when I am weak then I am strong..." This portion of the passage should read like this, "You can look at me right now and see what the glory of God looks like because His strength has me propped up!" People that are propped up, but in pain give God more glory in praise while they are in public. Glory happens when ever God is most visible. And you can't help but see God in a season of your life when you know that it was nobody but Jesus Christ seeing you through. Here's a great devotional question to ask. When was the last time the Lord had to prop you up? What was your shout like then? Was your praise filled with gratitude? Glory? What about thanksgiving? When God says no it is not all bad because what comes from His no, is a yes from you that you didn't know that you had in you.

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