Sometimes God Says No

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-8, 9a NLT)

There are times when, just as in the case of Paul, God gives us what we need, not what we want.

In Series 3 of The Chosen, there is a scene where Jesus encounters a disciple called Little James, who is depicted as being disabled. James wants Jesus to heal him before he goes on a mission to heal others. Jesus tells him that he could heal him on the spot, but he has something different in mind for him. In the Bible, James the Less is never shown to be disabled. Still, the enactment illustrates a scriptural truth: God in his sovereign foreknowledge, sometimes says no to give us something better ultimately. In relation to James’ situation, the reason given was that a disabled man praying for the healing of another would significantly impact the Kingdom of God.

I believe God heals, and I have seen many healings, but there have been sick people for whom we have fasted and prayed fervently, yet God did not heal them. In the cases where the sickness was unto death, it can be heartbreaking to family and friends. Nonetheless, God can be after something higher than the miracle we seek.

I have been in churches where people come into a church seeking a miracle, and God does not grant them their request. They tend to lose interest in church activities, and often, you never see them again. They obliviously were seeking the gift rather than the giver. When Jesus’ disciples returned from a successful missionary journey, they rejoiced that even demons were subject to them in Christ’s name. Jesus’ retort was, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven” (Luke 10:20 NLT).

You will never see a greater miracle than the salvation of a soul.

The image is used with permission from Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

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