Ask something outside of God’s will you generally get a big fat NO. Ask for something out of selfishness, again you will probably get a NO. Ask for something and not believing God will hear you or answer, another likely NO. If you get a yes to any of these, either the answer didn’t come from God or God has a plan that happened to include what you wanted in spite of yourself.
Then there are the tough ones like illness, injury, and “Paul’s thorn.” Sometimes we have very real problems. That’s how we see them, anyway. We may have all the faith to move a mountain and all the patience to ask a million times, but we just don’t recognize how something could be outside God’s will. We pray in faith, we pray in the spirit, and we believe, and still get zilch. Here’s some hope for you…
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Our field of vision is limited. We aren’t all knowing. We aren’t all seeing. We aren’t all powerful. These are all good reasons to be asking, but they are also all good reasons to for a NO answer.
2 Cor 12:9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Sometimes God has a higher purpose for what we think of as a problem. We want the problem fixed because we perceive it to be a weakness. In our limited minds we think God could better use us if we weren’t so broken. This very well may not be the case at all. It isn’t up to us how God uses us; it is up to Him. It is still okay to ask, but we should find joy in our trials when He uses those trials for His glory. Our weakness is for His sake, but it is also for ours. We just don’t see it that way. Would we realize our need for God if we were already perfected in this life?
1 Cor 13:11-12 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. We start our walk with the Lord as children, new creations, born again. Children ask many questions. Parents do their best to answer them. Children often don’t understand, or at least don’t fully understand the answers parents give. Some questions seek information while others are requests for things they desire. Sometimes a NO answer is given to a child to protect them from harm or to protect their innocence. Sometimes parents say NO because they have something better they want to give them. Sometimes they say NO because the child’s birthday is coming up and the item has already been purchased as a present for them. I think God does a lot of things like that. I also know we can look forward with hope to having full understanding as well has having our needs met when we are in the Lord’s presence. Another aspect to consider is our spiritual maturity. As we grow, we learn. We learn what to ask and how. As we do our faith grows, our love grows, our discernment grows and our wisdom grows.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. This says to me that the hard things will be dealt with, though perhaps not in this life. The day will come when every tear will be wiped away. Maybe you find this comforting and maybe you find it frustrating. For me it is a comfort.
This post is an excerpt (Question 6.5) from my book Ask James one.