By Pastor Jeff Hanson
Your Grace is Sufficient for Me
2 Corinthians 12:6-10, “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
There are many thoughts about what this thorn in the Apostles Paul’s side was, if it was a physical problem or may have been a spiritual one but the Lord clearly tells him that his prayer for it to go away would not happen but to rely on God’s grace in dealing with it.
Today I’m going to attempt to answer one of the “why” questions.
There are biblical reasons for our prayers seemingly being not answered and the main reason is because we have sin in our lives.
Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
It maybe be for a selfish reason,
James 4:3, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
Lack of faith is another,
James 1:6-8 , “but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Other reasons are that you didn’t ask or its not God’s timing and so on.
First thing we need to understand is that God is not the cause of suffering in this world. Ultimately, it’s man that brought sin and death upon all mankind.
Who brought the thorn in Paul’s side? Yep, Satan
I’m not positive who the author of the book of Job is but who is the one who brought death to Job’s family? Who caused illness to Job?
When God spoke to Job, did He ever explain why these things happened to Job?
Isaiah 55:6-12 tells us that God is sovereign!
Now, if you’re not Born Again of the water and Spirit, God has no obligation to hear your prayer,
Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
But praise God he can and will answer prayers of those not in the “Born Again” group as many of us would not be here if Jesus hadn’t answered our pray in those dark days of our lives.
Matthew 15:21-28, “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour”
John 9:39, “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”
God does not cause sickness,
Matthew 17:14-18, “And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.”
God is not the source of death,
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
So, we can easily see why there is sickness and death in this world but that doesn’t answer why it seems God does not answer our prayers, I mean we ask, we believe, we repent of our sins, we forgive others, so why?
It really goes to our feeble thoughts of who God is and how merciful He is!
1Timothy 1:12-16, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
We live in a corrupt fallen world, where every evil imaginable is possible, where sickness, murder, death is rampant, where a child in what should be the safest place you could imagine is in danger. Where governments that were established to protect your freedoms are taking them away and looking for complete control every facet of your life. Where Jesus Christ and His followers have become a threat to this control and are labeled as bigots and racist.
In a way God has answered the prayers of this world and that prayer is for God to leave us alone! Let us decide for ourselves what is right and wrong.
But I also contend that Jesus does hear the prayers of His children
Psalms 66:19-20, “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”
This my not answer in its entirety the “Why” question since in this life we may not get that answer but God does hear and sometimes we don’t like the answer. Never lose that trust and get caught up in the lie of the devil that God just doesn’t care for He does!