Daily Devotional: Day 90
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9, NKJV).
“No” can be God’s answer to your request. With God, there is no “Maybe.” It is always “Yes” or “No.” God promised to answer our prayer, but He did not promise to say “Yes” to all our requests all the time. Some might quote John 14:13-14 to suggest that the Lord will do anything we ask, regardless of the consequences. But this is far from what the Word of God teaches.
God answers our prayer based on the relationship He has with us and His love for us. Sometimes, His love for us means He would say “No” to what we are asking; other times, His love for us means He will say “Yes” to our request. The most important thing for us Christians is that the Father loves us and He will never leave us or abandon us. The most important thing is not about getting God to say “Yes” to all our requests, but being persuaded that no matter what we’re going through, the grace of Christ is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
During a time in Paul’s life, he was afflicted by a problem which he identifies as “a messenger of satan.” The Bible doesn’t specify the nature of the problem, so I won’t speculate. This “messenger” was sent to afflict Paul to keep him from swelling with pride. Previously, the Lord had given Paul access to wonderful revelations of heaven. The Lord knew that this kind of knowledge could lead Paul to pride.
Out of love for Paul, the Lord allowed him to be tormented to keep him from sinning. Paul says that he pleaded with the Lord three times that this problem might be removed. But on all three occasions, the Lord’s answer was “No.” However, the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you . . ..” The Lord was protecting Paul from a much bigger danger – the danger of pride. We all know that some people soon become proud and arrogant when they gain knowledge.
Most of us Christians today need to correct our theology and adjust our expectations to conform them to God’s Word. Sometimes we think what we want is good for us, but God may think otherwise. We need to learn to discern God’s view of things and be happy to submit to His will even during a period of affliction. Not all things that seem good are necessarily good for us. Similarly, not all difficult situations are necessarily bad for us.
As the Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But [but] its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Paul wanted to be set free from his affliction. This seemed good to him; there was nothing wrong with his prayer. But God loved Paul so much that He’d rather let Paul be afflicted than fall into the sin of pride.
The lesson for us is that love does not always have to say “Yes” to all requests. Sometimes saying “No” is the truest expression of love. Your heavenly Father loves you dearly, and He will do whatever you ask, but not if He knows that what you ask can harm you. But know this, whether you get a “Yes” or a “No” doesn’t change God’s love for you. When He says “Yes,” it’s because He loves you; and when He says “No,” it’s also because He loves you. You’ll find great peace and joy if you learn to “see” and understand things from the Lord’s perspective.
Father, teach me to know that your grace is sufficient for me, and that no matter what I’m going though or will go through, your power will rest over me. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For further study: Luke 22:39-44