2 Corinthians 12:9 — “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Have you ever prayed a specific, intentional, faith filled, passionate, earnest prayer and God said “no?” Wait…God says “no” sometimes? If you ever shared one (no judgment and I still love you) but there is a meme making the rounds on Facebook that says: “God will either answer your prayer “not yet” or “I have something better for you.” Really? God does say “no.” Sometimes no matter how faithfully we pray or how right or good something seems, God says “no.” We desperately pray for healing or deliverance, God says no. Why? Because He is God and His will is perfect for our lives.
If you’ve ever met me, I’ve spoken about the time I prayed for God to spare the life of my four-year-old little girl Brynleigh and my late wife Cassie. His answer was “no”. Could God have delivered their lives? Absolutely. Could God have prevented the wreck that stole them from me? No doubt. Could God have allowed our family to miraculously walk away from the wreck unfazed as a testimony to His divine power? For sure. Why didn’t He then? I don’t fully know that answer.
What I do know is that as He has before, God continues to remind me: His grace is enough. He doesn’t always give me the answer. So what can we do when God’s answer is “no”? Trust Him. I have seen lives changed around the world because of the pain that God has blessed me to experience and brought me through. Don’t misunderstand, if I could I would take away the pain. But it is that very pain that God has used to open the door into the pain of other people’s lives for Him to minister and transform them.
As I stood in El Salvador before a room of young men and women who have seen and experienced pain in ways I may never know, I shared Jesus. There in the small class with high schoolers who didn’t speak my language, I poured out my heart about the wreck. As I spoke and my translator translated, the Holy Spirit moved in the pain. Tears began to flow down faces, these precious people began to connect with the pain. The very pain that threatened to destroy me now served as the permission to share the truth of Jesus with them. After I finished speaking, we prayed and gave an invitation and hands began to go up as a celebration began in heaven.
Thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. God was there no other way? What if there wasn’t? What if the only way these lives would come to faith in Christ is for my sweet Brynleigh to be stolen from me much too early. I have prayed for years that God would use me, what if being used by God is what this looks like and feels like? What if His “no” when I desperately prayed for Cassie and Brynleigh was the way in which He intended to transform countless lives? I praise Him for the “no” knowing that His grace has been and will always be sufficient.
As you prepare to pray today, I encourage you to know that even if God says “no” to your most desperate plea, you can still trust Him. Here I sit and I want to tell you, God is good all the time. You can trust Him that through the “no” sometimes He moves more powerfully than He would have through an answered prayer. Sometimes the “no” may feel crushing but come to Him with every weary and wounded moment, Jesus will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Lord, thank you for the times you answer no to our most desperate prayers. We confess we don’t understand why, but we know that your grace is sufficient. Lord, let your grace overwhelm us with a peace that passes understanding. We know that your love for us is deeper than we can understand and even in the midst of a “no”, you still love us and you are good. Today we pray that your strength would be made perfect in our weakness. When we can’t walk Lord, carry us. Jesus we come to you with every weary and wounded thought, please give us rest, it’s in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.