Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"What Do You Do When God Says No?"

May 30, 2006
"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1)

I was praying for something this week. I was praying for something everyday this week. I was praying for it several times a day, as a matter of fact. I was praying according to Philippians 4:6 by presenting my requests to God with thanksgiving. Just like David in Psalm 5, I was laying my requests before God in the morning and waiting in expectation. And waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Not that it's anywhere near as dramatic, but figuratively anyway, the Red Sea was before me and the Egyptian soldiers were behind me and that's when God said, "No."

This wasn't one of those things where I could comfort myself that the answer would come some other day. The need was now and the answer was no. Okay...deep breath...now what?

In situations like this we are faced with a few choices. Some are godly choices and some are instigated right from the pits of hell. I know you've been there before. When the enemy whispers in your ear, "See, He didn't come through for you. He says that He'll supply your every need and guess what, He didn't." Well, soldier, that's all I need to hear to make me mad! I am on a journey of mind renewal. According to Romans 12:2, I am not to be conformed any longer to this world but I am to "be transformed by the renewing of my mind." I have come too far and fought too hard to let the master liar get my mind going in the wrong direction. If we are well acquainted with the word of God, we can fight this battle instantly by replacing those thoughts of the enemy with God's word. Speaking truth kicks the butt of the devil's lies. And God's word is truth. So when God says no, speak the Word out of your mouth...wield that Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6: 17). Draw near to God and resist the Devil and he will flee from you. (James 4: 7)

The second choice is not to get discouraged. I read a story about Satan having a "going out of business" sale. He had all of his tools spread out on a table. Tools of hatred, envy, pride and deceit. There was one tool that was very well worn and was more expensive than any other tool on the table. Someone asked what the tool was and the answer was, "Discouragement." When asked why it was so expensive, Satan answered, "Because it is more useful to me than any of the others." Discouragement can paralyze you. It can render you ineffective for God's service, for your family, your job and your church. It's a "what's the use?" attitude that accomplishes nothing for God but a whole lot for the enemy camp. Satan doesn't really care if you go to church. He doesn't care if you go to Bible study. He doesn't even care if you work in God's service. What he doesn't want is sold out, in love with Jesus believers who refuse to give up and whose trust in God cannot be shaken, no matter what. So if he can get you discouraged with God...he's got you. Whose side do you want to be on? ...I'm on the Lord's side, so I WILL NOT get discouraged. So when God says no, don't get discouraged.

Understand that God is not a vending machine. Just because I ask and try to punch the "right" buttons or use the right system or program out there that is supposed to get prayers answered, doesn't mean it's going to happen. God is our loving Father. Just as earthly parents don't give in to every one of their children's requests, so God doesn't either. A wise parent knows what is the best for his child and so does God. So our third choice is to trust that our Heavenly Father knows what's best and that He will never harm us in any way. And even though it's hard to understand when He says no to our prayers...we must choose to trust that His way is best.

Last but most important of all....when God says no, praise Him anyway! I was talking this morning to a dear brother named Charles. He was telling me that he had a pretty rough week and he just had to come to church this morning to praise God. He is on the praise team and led some awesomely Spirit filled worship in spite of his week and in spite of his disappointments and struggles. He came to praise God. I shared with him that my week hadn't been going quite the way I wanted it to either. But we both agreed that when you Praise Him, it just all goes away. We just gotta praise! "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." (Helen H. Lemmel, 1922) Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I praise Him." (Job 13: 15). We praise God not only for what He has done for us, but because He is God and is worthy to be praised for who He is. So even if God says no, Praise Him Anyway!

What are you praying for? A spouse? A child? A financial reversal? A new job? A healing for yourself or a loved one? Whatever it is, I pray that God will answer your prayer. He may, but then again, He may not. He may tell you yes, He may tell you to wait, or like me, He may tell you no. But let me share with you that the Egyptian soldiers didn't catch up to me and the Red Sea didn't drown me. I'm still standing. He led me to "the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61: 2c) I couldn't reach it by myself. God led me there and because He led me, I am safe. I am standing on higher ground. And come to think of it, I am better off, because this experience lifted me up to a new level of closeness with my Rock, my Refuge, my Fortess and my Deliverer. So in essence God gave me what was best for me when He told me no. And because of this, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1)

Donna Schultz

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