Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 11, 2011
There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God, and did not respect man. And there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ And for a while he was unwilling… Luke 18:2-4a (NASB)
The power of someone saying ‘no’ need not be discouraging, rather use it as a lesson in determination. ‘No’ is sometimes necessary to get our attention and give us the perspective we would have missed rushing through life. If everything were a ‘yes’ we could certainly take people and things for granted, and run the risk of our faith becoming flabby. It is when we exercise discipline, creativity and prayer that we encounter God.
For example, you may want to spend money right now, but your budget shouts back ‘no’, because money is tight. Instead of circumventing your circumstances with credit, become creative. Perhaps you can help someone steward one of their assets better by allowing you to use their beach or mountain home. Or, as a parent your ‘no’ to your child is for their protection. It is better for them to suffer a minor pain of disappointment now than significant life altering harm in the future. Furthermore, and most importantly, a ‘no’ is meant to move you toward knowing God. His ‘no’ is your heavenly attention getter.
This is Jesus’ point, He said one verse earlier, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). So negotiate God’s ‘no’ with persistent prayer. It is in prayer that you prevail and your character changes. Constant prayer over familiar issues like finances, relationships, work, health and family transforms your trust in God.
A ‘no’ is preparation so you can handle what God has in store for you in the future. Your boss may have said ‘no’, but you will gain skills and confidence in the interim as you persevere and innovate. Go back and pray about creative and cost effective ways to do an even more incredible job at half the cost. Your spouse may have said ‘no’, but don’t go behind their back and do it anyway. Honor them by standing down to the ‘check in their spirit’. At the very least you have expressed to them value and trust. Pray about how to proceed.
It is humbling to your heart, but it brings clarity to your head. It is inconvenient to your schedule, but it saves you time in the long run. There is some suffering for a season, but nothing compared to the hassle of grinding it out your own way without wisdom from above. So, stay in the fray of faith building. ‘No’ today is access to a better ‘yes’ tomorrow.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
What “no” have I received for which I need to be patient and wait on God’s timing?
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