I read an interview the other day, and the author shared one of my favorite verses. I’m always encouraged when I read this scripture, as much by what it doesn’t promise as what it does promise.
I heard about a comedian that used the Lord like a genie of a lamp. He claimed to pray to God for six weeks and found he only got what he wanted about half of the time. Then he prayed to Joe Pesci for six weeks and still got what he wanted about half of the time. You can probably imagine his punchline.
This is wrong on so many levels, the primary being that God will not be mocked.
Of course, the comedian completely missed the blessing of prayer, spending time with God and getting to know Him. But he also missed out on the tremendous blessing of not getting what he wanted.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Did you notice the promise? God’s peace. He’ll cover those who call to Him with supernatural peace when they place their needs at His feet. How cool is that? And not just cover, but GUARD. He’ll guard minds to prevent negative imaginations. He’ll guard hearts to encourage, strengthen, and console.
But the other side of that coin is what He doesn’t promise. He doesn’t promise to take care of all the things that create worry. He doesn’t promise to say yes to every desire or bale out every problem.
See, we don’t have a lamp genie. We have Father God who knows and understands everything. And who will tell us no when a yes will hurt the big picture that He has for us. And He’ll tell us no to provide for us a better opportunity to grow closer to Him.
The word No isn’t a pleasant experience, but can be easily as deep a blessing as the times when God says Yes.