The question of why God says "No" sometimes to our prayer requests - especially prayers for healing - puzzles me! You and I both have prayed for healing for ourselves or someone we love. We have prayed long and hard and sincerely and with as much faith as we have. As we wrestle with the prayer, "Thy Kingdom Come ... on earth as it is in Heaven", this week, flowing from Sunday's message at Point of Grace, I find myself re-asking the question about prayers for healing that do not get a "yes" answer from God! Healing miracles have always been a "taste" of the Kingdom of God coming on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus did these miracles, His disciples did these miracles, we are to pray for these miracles.
I am finding some comfort and explanation for this "Why some not others?" question in the story about the Apostle Paul written in 2 Corinthians 12. "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul seems to have a physical malady of some sort and pleaded with Jesus to take it away - to heal him. Jesus didn't! Jesus didn't let His Kingdom come in that particular way at that particular time even though Paul (a guy known to do miracles of healing in the New Testament) pleaded with Jesus.
This is helpful for me because it helps me remember that when my prayers are not answered the way I think they should be that I am not alone. Even one of the greatest of the greats, Paul, had the same issue.
Secondly, I don't need to go down the path of doubt and despair when that happens either. Paul reminds me to go down the path of humility and faith. God is up to something with His "no" answer but I just can't see it.... and whatever He is up to, it is ultimately good and consistent with His character as my Father in heaven.
Thirdly, Jesus' response to Paul asks me to reconsider the sufficiency of God's grace in my life and the power of God showing through my weakness. I might think that the greatest display of God's power would be to "heal" me or do an evident miracle. God knows that sometimes the greatest display of His power is when in the middle of unresolved suffering - peace and hope and joy from outside of oneself can flow freely. That actually becomes a greatest testimony of His kingdom coming. It is in our weakness that God's power is really shown to a watching world.
I will continue to pray for healing and for miracles from God! No question! But I will remember that He is the King of His Kingdom and He calls the shots. Perhaps the greatest treasure I received today from this text is that my weaknesses have become in my mind 'holy ground' where God displays His glory. I will struggle to believe that - especially in a time of trouble - but today I am reminded that it is there to be believed! "For when I am weak, then I am strong." WOW!