Thursday, March 17, 2011

A God Who Sometimes Says No

People have blessed me in so many ways during my battle with cancer - from providing generous financial help, to delivering delicious home-cooked meals, to giving up personal time to babysit my kids, to sending notes of encouragement, and the list goes on. All of these things have been incredibly helpful and encouraging.

But perhaps the best thing anyone do for me during this season of my life is to pray for me - for healing, for wisdom and patience, for emotional strength, for faith and hope, and for God to glorify Himself through me. The Bible teaches that prayer isn't just positive thinking or merely wishing certain things, but it is actually our means of communicating with the one true God. God promises to hear and to answer every prayer that is offered to Him by faith and in Jesus' name. He has given us the gift of prayer to cast our cares upon Him and to ask for Him to work in our lives. And so that is why I often include specific prayer requests in my blog posts.

The trick is that God does not promise to answer every prayer in the way we hope He will. He is not a magic genie who is obligated to fulfill our requests. As Jesus taught in the Lord's Prayer, we should pray for God's will to be done, not ours. That seems to make good sense when it comes to people praying for selfish or evil things. But what about when our prayers are for good things - for instance, for someone to be healed from cancer - why would God not agree to answer such a prayer with healing? Or to put it more personally: why would God allow my cancer to spread to my lymph nodes when so many people were praying that would not happen? If I have been praying so hard from the beginning that I would not have to do radiation, then why would God deny my request and have me do radiation?

In God's good timing, this past Sunday our pastor, John Fender, addressed this very topic in his sermon on Deuteronomy 3:23-29, "A God Who Sometimes Says No." He does a fantastic job of answering this perplexing question that countless Christians have faced throughout history. It was a great help to me - especially during this time - and I pray it will be a help to many of you as well.

A God Who Sometimes Says No from John Fender on Vimeo.