Saying Y-E-S is within His grasp - all the pieces are there to make it work, He has the ability to spell it out but, He still chooses N-O.
Cats are weird.
I'm really not a cat person but God must have thought I needed one because he allowed me to find Bella in the woods next to my home. She was a tiny little thing and, yes, I took her in. Since that time I've really tried hard to understand her. Really hard, and it's a daily struggle because, well, she's just weird.
One of the battles we have - is that she HATES her once a month topical medication for
fleas, worms, ticks, etc. HATES it. She has a calendar hidden somewhere in this house, with a red circle on the 1st of the month and the word D-DAY written on it. The morning of the 1st? Incognito. She disappears. It takes me awhile but I finally win and get the oil onto her back - and oh...the agony of it all. She hides only to return just to give me the dreaded stink eye.
You know....even though I do it for her own good, she is still angry and just doesn't get it. The look she gives me is as if I've done something or allowed something terrible to happen to her and I just don't care, or I'm not taking her feelings, wants and needs into account. It's as if she knows best and I am just allowing her to be mistreated and it's well within my power to stop it. As I hold her, she whines and fights to get away - but knowing that the alternative is so much worse - my answer is No. Yes, I hear her complaints and it does break my heart to see her struggle, but knowing best - my answer is still No.
Paul's testimony is a miraculous one of grace, forgiveness and mercy and God loved Paul so. God pulled out all of the stops to get Paul's attention, forgive him of his past, set him on a different path and call him to a ministry that would be totally devoted to God. But God still told Paul No.
Paul had a thorn. It was something that he had to endure. Something he suffered with, physically or emotionally, until his death. He described and testified of his thorn, in his letter to the church in Corinth (II Corinthians 12):
7 -Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 - Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
Here is what I learned from this passage:
7 - Paul's view was that this issue was given to him from Satan. It was placed upon him to keep him from being prideful and conceited. It kept him humble.
8 - The thorn (as he describes it) was so much of a struggle for Paul that he prayed over and over, believing that God would take it from him. Three times he pleaded with God to heal him physically, emotionally or stop whatever was causing him to suffer. He pleaded.. Just take it from me. A thorn is something that is nagging -- it causes limitations in your ability to do things - or at least makes it more difficult. It's always there and it's hard to ignore.
9 -Paul finally received an answer to his prayer. God told him that He would not take the thorn away but that He would give Paul what he needed to live with it. Paul would now have to rest in the strength that God gave him instead of being healed and rest in his own strength. And when he did get through it - Paul would only be able to testify that it was God that brought him through -- it was not in his own strength because the problem still existed. It was not removed - God just walked through the issue with him.
What a testimony.
Everyone is different but for Paul...If God had of said Yes and had taken away the thorn Paul suffered with away, then Paul may have become less dependent on God. He may have been less likely to lean on the strength of God. The old "I can do it myself" pride may have set in and he may have become conceited in his ways and have become less usable by God. Paul was a strong-willed, learned man with connections, and a man, whose personality God could use to win others to a belief in Jesus but, God knew that he may have to put a bridle on him to direct his steps and keep him under control.
God knows best.
So, today I look back at the many times that God said No to me and I remember that He knew best. The times of feeling sorry for myself, not understanding why He wouldn't do what I knew He could do - are over. I now thank God that He said No to my prayer for...
a child to start my family but was never able to conceive
a marriage that failed after years of believing God to restore
an alcoholic I wanted healed who died from it instead
the job opportunity that I thought was perfect
the house that I tried to buy that failed after numerous attempts
the mission field opportunity I yearned for that never came to fruition
God - You. Knew. Best. I still don't see the logic in some of the No's but who am I? I am but flesh and blood with finite sight and understanding. And God is God.
So, thank you God for saying No because Your plan is good and regardless of the cat-er-walling that I may do and the stink-eyes I may want to give - I trust in your plan.
My prayer today is:
Father God, You know best. You knew best for me. I didn't like it then and some of it I still question but I am going to trust in You, Your plan and Your ways. You do with my life what You want to do and use my personality and my strengths and weaknesses in a way that keep them under Your control. I do love You...a bunch.