WHEN GOD SAYS ‘NO’                             Matthew 26:36-46

‘…not as I will, but as you will.’ (v.39)

Does it strike you as strange that a man Christ was beset by a continuing  problem? Isn’t there some contradiction here? Some Christian counselors I know, had they been alive in Paul’s day, would have immediately set about the task of trying to eradicate the problem had he asked for their advice. Time and time again in the days when I was more heavily involved in personal counseling than I am now, I would say something like this to a person: You will have to endure this problem for a little while longer as I discern God is using it to refine your character and transform you into the image of His Son. Anyone who had tried to free Paul of his problem would have been working against the purposes of God. The Lord gave him, or allowed him, to be afflicted by the problem (whatever it was) in order to counterbalance the ecstasy he experienced when he was caught up into the third heaven, and thus keep him humble.

Three times Paul asked God to deliver him, but each time the answer was No (2 Cor. 12:8-9). It’s not easy when God says No to a persistent prayer for deliverance, but His No’s always follow a wise and benevolent purpose. Personally, I thank God frequently for the times He has said No to certain of my prayers, for had He answered them with  a Yes, I would not have experienced  His best in my life. The revelation Paul received left him with a problem which God used to make him a more dependent disciple. A nightingale, I am told, sings much more sweetly when a thorn is sticking in its side.

PRAYER LINE: Father, thank You that You allow only what can be used. Nothing You permit can hinder me; it can only help me. Drive that truth into my spirit I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Paul’s thorn in the flesh may have been unknown, but it was not unused.

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