When God Says No
Then he killed
James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased
the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. (Acts 12:2-3a)
Can you accept God’s will when His answer is no? If you are praying in
God’s will, He will always answer you when you pray (Jer. 33:3). However,
sometimes His answer will be no.
King Herod arrested Peter and prepared to have him executed. During the
night, as his church prayed, Peter’s life was spared when an angel freed him.
God miraculously answered the prayers of His people that night. Yet not long
before, James, too, had been arrested by Herod. James, however, was executed.
Surely the church had prayed for James as fervently as they did for Peter, yet
that time God’s answer had been no.
Did God love Peter more than James? Of course not. James had been one of
Jesus’ closest friends. Yet God allowed James to die while He continued to use
Peter in His service. The church in Jerusalem did not become bitter toward God.
They accepted His answer because they trusted His love and wisdom.
There are times when God wants us to persist in our praying until He has
completed His work in us_(Luke 11:5–8; 18:1–6). However, when God’s answer is
no, it is futile to continue pleading for a yes. Some refuse to take no for an
answer, insisting that if you pray long enough and hard enough, God will
ultimately grant any request you make. It is an affront to your Lord to
continue pleading with Him when He has clearly said no. The purpose of prayer
is not to conform God to our will but to adjust our will to God. We must learn
to trust God so that if He says no, we accept that His will is best.