“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this…” 2 Corinthians 12:8
Have you prayed for something, but you haven’t received an answer? It’s a safe bet to say that at one time or another we have all “pleaded” with God to give us something or to take something away that was unwelcomed but to no avail. The Apostle Paul is in a situation like that. If we are not careful, these moments can cast despair over us leading us to question our faith in God.
I am a firm believer that God ALWAYS answers our prayers offered by faith. We don’t always have the mind or the will of God in view when we pray, and this can lead to confusion about prayer.
Prayer isn’t a vending machine that we put in a few coins and make our selection. Prayer is about aligning our life with God’s life. We see life from a very narrow perspective, but God sees our life in the scope of eternity.
Our primary purpose as a Christian, this side of heaven, is to “decrease” so that “Christ may increase.” We are to be transformed into His likeness. I wonder how many Christians when they arrive in heaven will not recognize Jesus? Prayer is one way that God accomplishes transformation.
“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” Philippians 3:10
Prayer allows us to experience the power of His resurrection. There are moments in prayer when we experience the supernatural power of God. Prayer also affords us the opportunity to share in His suffering. Suffering, although undesirable is also unavoidable. How we go through seasons of suffering will determine if we grow from it or groan beneath it.
I believe in the supernatural power of God to heal! I have witnessed it in my own life. I will continue to pray for the sick and believe God to perform miracles by faith in Jesus name. But Paul gives us another side to answered prayer. Sometimes the answer is “grace.”
Three times Paul pleaded with God to remove a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know if the thorn was spiritual, emotional or physical, but we know it was troublesome enough that he pleaded with God three times. God’s answer was “my grace is sufficient.”
Paul’s pain was going to serve a greater purpose in his life. His pain was going to deepen his understanding of grace and his relationship with God more effectively than healing would. Every person who is healed will eventually experience death. But to experience God in a more profound and intimate way will carry with us into eternity. In a sense, it brings a little slice of eternity into our present.
God answers EVERY prayer. If you have not heard “no” then keep praying until something happens. This is one reason why we fast. If God has said no and you are attempting to negotiate with Him, don’t miss out on one of the most profound experiences you can have with God. His grace is sufficient. His power is perfected in our weakness.
As we learn to live in the power of His grace, we develop the ability to overcome every obstacle to an abundant and Godly life. Does this mean God is the source of our suffering? By NO means! “28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
God is working out every circumstance for your good. What was meant for harm, He can transform into something good!