Sunday, September 7, 2014

More Grace Please

More Grace Please
Sept 8, 2014
2 Corinthians 12:8  "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me."

Paul, after suffering some type of affliction, asked the Lord to remove the suffering, to  change the course of Paul's discomfort.  The Lord did not.  As close as Paul was to the heart of the Father, still there were prayer requests unanswered.  The Almighty Father, in His infinite wisdom, chose not to give Paul what he asked for during prayer.  The answer was a resounding, "No!"  The Lord wasn't being a jerk about it, but for some reason decided it was better NOT to give Paul what he wanted, even though there was nothing wrong with Paul's prayer request.  Paul wasn't asking for a million dollars or a dream vacation.  Paul wasn't asking to be famous or loved by the masses.  Paul was simply asking the Lord to remove a "thorn from his flesh."

While I am not the Heavenly Father, if my child came to me and asked me to remove a thorn from her finger, I would gladly help.  I would graciously and generously do all I could to remove the discomfort, to ease her troubles.  But the Lord, when Paul made such a request, denied to ease his discomfort.  This gives tremendous insight into the Lord's character that some people will never admit.  If a Christian has an unanswered prayer, or the Lord has denied the request, it becomes easy to judge the situation.  We cast our opinion on the subject, suggesting there is sin or a lack of faith.  Neither of these two things were present in Paul's unique circumstance.  There are times when the Lord simply deems it better to allow us to walk through the difficulty.  As a father, I would graciously and generously remove the affliction, but the Lord, full of grace and generosity, allowed the affliction to continue for Paul.  He allows it to continue for us sometimes, too.

How and why would a gracious and generous God allow such discomfort, especially after someone pleaded with Him earnestly, time and time again?  Such an answer to that question will never fully be known or revealed to us, but clearly it is for the better.  By NOT answering our prayer request, the Lord is somehow doing a better service to us and His kingdom.  The Lord is perfect, unfailing in His love.  The Lord is sovereign and works all things out for the best possible result.  If that means NOT giving us what we want is better, then He will allow us to remain without.  He promises to be gracious and generous, but without a perceived resolution to our situation.

This may not sit well with your current circumstance or your desire to see your scenario changed, but it creates an opportunity.  Paul, during his time of pleading, did receive a response from the Lord.  The Lord told Paul that grace would overflow in his life.  The Lord said His grace would be sufficient in place of the answered prayer.  The Lord was saying His power and presence in Paul's life would be enough to help him endure any troubling times.  The Lord didn't want Paul to have a changed situation, the Lord wanted Paul to have more of Him.  Your desire for a resolution creates the opportunity to desire more of Him.  If you don't have an answer to your prayer request after quite some time, you simply get to ask for more of His presence in your life.  If you have all of Him, you have all you need, despite your current situation or lack thereof.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  John 9:1-32, Rom 8:28, 1 Cor 15:10, 2 Cor 12:8-10

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