In life, we all go through things that challenge us in various ways and we are faced with the question of, “Do we persevere, or do we throw in the towel and move on?”, and if we throw in the towel and move on, “Are we limiting God, Are we giving up too soon?”, and perhaps we may even ask, “Well, how long is too long?”
Now, there are probably some people reading this getting excited at the thought of these questions finally being answered, but this is not going to be the case. Not because an answer does not exist, but instead it is because there is no one answer to give. Every situation is different and it is through prayer and communication with the Lord that you get the answers to those questions.
I. When God Says “No”
There will be times when God’s answer is, “No”…
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Luke 22:42 (we know that God’s answer to this prayer was obviously “no” because Jesus endured the cross, which was according to God’s will).
and we may be tempted to keep pressing the matter because we believe perhaps God may give in and grant us the very thing we have been praying for. Sadly, we forget that God has already said that He knows the plans He has for us, so continuing to press the matter will not cause Him to alter His plans. In addition to that, when we continually question God’s authority, or His omniscient power, are we in essence saying we don’t trust God’s ability to have rule over our lives…to know what’s best for us?
Unfortunately, we may be guilty of allowing pride to get in the way, or we let what we believe other people are going to say cause us to continue to try and push down a door that God has closed. The problem with this is, God is a matchless King and there is no way we are going to win that battle. All the time we spend trying to convince God that His “no” was a mistake and force that closed door open, we could be spending it pursuing the blessings God has prepared for us (if you are unsure, pray and ask Him to reveal it to you. If He doesn’t reveal it immediately, keep praying), or enjoying the blessings He has already placed before us. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus would have stayed in the garden praying and asking God to remove the cup…He would never have completed the work and He would have missed out on His crown of glory; not to mention we would still be lost and waiting for salvation.
If God has told you “no” to something you have been striving to gain or accomplish, be encouraged and know that God is not saying “no” because He is not able; to the contrary, the hand of God is not short, He has not lost any power, and He can do all things…
Genesis 18:10-14; Numbers 11:22-23; Isaiah 59:1; Ephesians 3:20; Romans 4:21; 2 Corinthians 9:8
consider that God may be saying no because it is not according to His plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), or it may seem like a “no” because it is not yet time for the vision to come to fruition (Habakkuk 2:3).
If you believe that God watches over His children and He cares, then believe also that “no” is in your best interest and there is possibly a “yes” to another prayer, right around the corner; we just have to get there.
The keys to “getting there”, or getting to where God has purposed us to be:
1- Prayer of Acceptance to God’s will.
Simply put, we need to get unstuck. Sometimes we can’t get to our “yes” because we are stuck trying to figure out how we can turn God’s “no”, into a “yes” forgetting the we have no power over God’s word.
2- Having Unconditional Faith in a God that Never Makes Mistakes-
Unconditional faith means trusting and believing God is able, even when He says no and even when it seems impossible. If we believe that God is all righteous and absolutely perfect, then we must understand that it is impossible for a perfect and righteous God to make a mistake…even one of the smallest degree. So, in short, God’s “no” is not a mistake and though it may hurt, continue to have faith and trust in the One who is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
II. Waiting on God
Just as there will be times when God’s answer is “no”, there will be times when His answer is “yes”, but we just have to wait on God…
this is where perseverance kicks in.
If God has already spoken to you and told you that something is to be so, then hold on to that and pursue it. Remember that God has said that He watches over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). It does not matter if God promised it yesterday, last week, last month, last year, two years ago, three years ago, or even 10 years ago; hold on to the vision. Remember that God’s time is not our time…
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” ~2 Peter 3:8
and though it may seem like everything is coming up against you, or like God Himself is working against you, know that in many cases there is preparation before the blessing. No, preparation may not come in the same way each time (it depends on the blessing), but know that God does sometimes prepare us for the blessing (we say sometimes here because there are times when God will move swiftly and immediately)…
Reference Scriptures to Preparation for the Blessing:
Exodus 33:18-23- Moses is prepared for God’s glory
2 Kings 5:10- The leper was prepared to receive a healing
John 9:7- The blind man was prepared to have his vision restored
Hosea 10:12- Preparation for harvest
Joel 2:12-13- Preparation for reconciliation to the Father
2 Kings 3:16-17- Preparation for water
2 Kings 4:3-4- Preparation for vessels to be filled
Isaiah 40:3- Preparation for the coming of Jesus
Acts 1:4- Preparation for the gift of the Holy Spirit
Revelation 7:13-14- Preparation for Heaven through cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ.
In every one of the scriptures listed regarding God’s preparation for the blessing, we can conclude that though there may be times when the preparation seems easy…meaning, you just need to stand where God says to stand, or you just need to go where God tells you to go and you will receive the blessing; there will also be times when the preparation is seemingly time consuming (digging ditches, or breaking up hardened ground), and possibly unappealing (having to dip one's body in dirty water doesn’t sound great, or having to have mud made from spit rubbed in your face, isn’t appealing).
In your persevering, things may seem hard, uncomfortable and/or impossible, but when you are pressing to get to the promise God has made you, remember that though it may not be easy right now, it is worth it because the blessings of God add no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22); it may seem sorrowful when you are preparing for it, but when you receive it, the blessing will be unmistakable and one hundred percent good!
Reflection: Are you continuing to do something because your pride won’t let you accept God’s “No”? Are you continuing in something that you know is not your purpose because you are afraid of what people will say about you if you stop? Are you persevering because you are honestly trying to get the blessing God has promised you?