Is there some prayer request you keep making, which God seems to be answering with a “No?” Is there something in your life, which seems clear from all you know about God that it would be better if it were the way you are asking God to do something, and you just cannot understand why God wouldn’t provide it and answer it?
Consider Hebrews 5:7-9: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”
It says that through this, Jesus became “perfect.” But of course, he was already perfect in his divine personhood, being already very God himself. But in his humanity, his development and accomplishment was not yet complete until he underwent his fullest and most difficult test of obedience in the garden and on the cross.
And in the garden, he asked the Father to remove his suffering, and it says he did so with “loud cries and tears,” though he knew from the beginning that it was his sole purpose for being born. And indeed the Father does answer his request. The Father answered Jesus with a “No.” ....which Jesus accepted.
The Father gave Jesus a “No,” which they had already agreed upon from eternity past. But Jesus cries out for mercy to the Father simply as a part of the agony of his human experience of receiving all of God’s wrath and anger, God’s crushing anger toward all our evil that was laid upon him, a separation and removal of all forms of God’s kindness, the immensity of which would be unimaginable. Jesus cries out and yet gets nothing but suffering, as a Lamb. He went through the agony of feeling the Father’s “No,” followed by a fierce anger and wrath from God on the cross.
But the reason that Jesus received that “No,” was so that you and I can be absolutely certain, from here on, that we will always receive God’s “Yes,” from our dear Father in heaven, and always have his comforting mercy every time we ask.
If there is something in your life to which God is saying “No,” some prayer request God seems to be ignoring, then we can know that because of Christ and what he’s done for us, we can have perfect assurance that, if you could know all that God knows, you would see that it is actually MORE loving of him not to grant that desire. This can be hard to trust. But we have to. Since Christ took God’s “No” in the garden and on the cross, now we can know that we are always getting God’s “Yes.” So, today, if God is withholding something in our lives, or not granting some prayer request, then it can ONLY be because it will ultimately, somehow, be better not to. When we are in Christ, God either answers our prayers with a “Yes,” or better than a yes.
With that as our motivation, let us rejoice in this magnificent love which we get to rest in and relish in every day. In prayer, let us give our lives to God. Let us give him our day today, and every day.
Prayer: Precious Lamb of God, Jesus, my sweet Savior, thank you so much, for enduring what I cannot even imagine. ...which I deserved! Thank you for taking our Father’s terrible “No” so that I can be assured of always getting your precious and wonderful “Yes.” Help me to trust you with all of my life, even those parts which seem so broken, so unredeemed, so wrong. Help me to believe that somehow, ALL things in my life are working out for my good, for my best!, and for your glory. May your glory be my aim. In your name, Jesus. Amen.