“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4)
Did you ever consider that the man who asked God to take his life never did taste death, but instead was carried off to heaven in a chariot of fire? After God granted Elijah a great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, the prophet feared for his life and went on the run from evil Queen Jezebel. Instead of continuing to trust in the God who had caused one man to triumph over 450 pagan prophets, Elijah was paralyzed by Jezebel’s threats and cried out to God to kill him. However, God had no intention of granting Elijah’s selfish and sinful request. God knew what was best for His servant, and what was best was a resounding “No” to Elijah’s fearful, unrighteous prayer for death.
Let me ask you this question: Can you not look back over your life and recall times when God said “No” to your prayer requests? And don’t you rejoice that He did? Surely it was God’s mercy that refused your plea, which would have taken you out of His perfect will and into your own wildly imperfect plan.
When we consider our prayer life from that perspective, we realize just how often we asked for what was contrary to God’s will for our lives. Too many times we desire temporal gain when God has eternal glory in store for us. How often we seek to satisfy our old, sinful nature! And, to be sure, there are times when God removes His restraining hand and we (and those around us) learn the lessons of life the hard way.
The apostle Paul asked God to remove his “thorn in the flesh”—not once, but three times—and each time God said “No” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why? Because God knows the beginning from the end, He knows all points in between . . . and He knows what is best for us.
I pray that you will allow this word to encourage you today. The grace of “No” in your prayer life is a grace you should receive with great joy. When God says “No,” it is because He has something infinitely better in store for you. God will not give you trinkets when He has treasures multiplied with your name on them.
Ask and you will receive; whether His response to you is “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait,” you can rest assured that the outcome will ultimately be for His glory and your good. You have His Word on that truth.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!