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Sometimes God Says No 
Sometimes God Says No

"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." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of God may rest upon me." II Corinthians 12:8-9 (NKJV)

Lest we become too presumptuous in our assuming that God is obligated to answer yes to all of our requests and inquiries, it may be wise for us to reconsider. While God has the power and sovereign authority to say yes; at His choosing, as an act of His perfect will for our lives He may decide to say no. All things being equal what does that say about the promises of God? Glad you asked. "For all the promises of God in Him yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." Second Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) This does not suggest that God is locked in to saying yes to everything that He has promised us in His word. Here Paul declares that God does not waver concerning His promises. They are the unchangeable fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The "yes" and the "amen" affirm that Jesus is the dependable depository of God's trust and ours. (See verses 15-19 for context)

To place God in a position where He is required to say "yes" is a dangerous denial of His divine sovereignty and authority to act or respond in any manner that He chooses. It goes without saying that when we pray, we anticipate an answer. While yes is an answer it may not be "the" answer for that time and place in God's ultimate purpose for our life. To understand this will help eliminate disappointment or disillusionment in our relationship with God. At the same time, it will aid us in raising our level of trust in Him by allowing Him to act on our behalf, for our good and His eventual glory. When God says no, perhaps He is closing doors that should never be opened or cutting off opportunities that may lead to our demise. Or maybe, as in the case with Paul, He says no to expose our human weaknesses that His power may rest upon us and become the difference maker in whatever circumstance that we may be facing.

Paul's dilemma in the text is somewhat unknown and open to much speculation, but to know that Paul's request was threefold for God to move in a "yes" fashion on his behalf suggests that the matter was quite urgent if not equally painful. It was not like God did not hear Paul the first time. But just in case; like we, Paul wants to cover all of his bases to be certain that he receives the desired response from God. While he did not receive an actual "no", the fact that his thorn in the flesh still remained was an indication of God's denial of his request but not a denial of God's power. When God says no it serves to remind us that He is still in charge and in control. He always has a long term solution in dealing with our immediate and urgent requests.

If God had not said no to Paul's request, then Paul would have never experienced God's power. It is no different for us. God's denial is never empty. He allows His power to "rest" upon us and our circumstances. When God's power rests upon us, it His power descending upon us, working within us, and giving us the help that we need. God may deny our request but at the same time, He will always deposits His power within us, not to mention His grace, that we will be able to endure our infirmities.

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