When God Says No
"...but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character, and character, hope."
Glory in tribulations...???
Yes. Don't think your trials aren't important, it is through our trials that we grow. They're unpleasant at the time, but the fruit of them is eternal, and later we will glory in what they produced in us ...and we'll glory in it for all eternity.
Accept trials with praise to the Lord for what he will do in you through them. Someday you will rejoice when you see the work that was accomplished by that which at the time seemed so grievous.
"...though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials,
that the genuineness of your faith,
being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire,
may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ..."
1 Peter 1:6-7
The apostle Paul found himself with "a thorn in the flesh," which the Scripture goes on to say was actually "a messenger of Satan" to harass him. In this case, the tribulation was meant to keep Paul from pride. He was a very learned man, mighty in the Scriptures, powerful in preaching the Gospel, and he even had had a vision of heaven. He could easily have thought himself great in such a setting, so the Lord set a circumstance in which Paul would be constantly reminded of his weakness. Paul went to the Lord three times, passionately praying to be delivered from the situation, but the Lord said no, that it is needed, but that He would be with him in it.
"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.'”
2nd Corinthians 12:8-9
Paul's response was not to be angry at God for denying his request. No, the true character of Paul was shown in his conclusion:
"Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
So humble was this man that he totally embraced the will of God for his life:
"Therefore I TAKE PLEASURE in infirmities, in reproaches,
in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Paul went on to be one of the greatest men who ever lived. His work impacted multitudes for eternity, and his life's work is still doing the same 2,000 years later. Had he not responded in all humility when God told him "no," his life would have gone on into obscurity.
Friends, surrender is the key to releasing the power of God. There is no limit to what God will do with a totally surrendered heart. The decision one makes on this issue will determine the course and the outcome of the rest of his life - and of his eternity!
A powerful teaching on surrender:
And another one: