Wrestling with Yes

Wrestling with Yes

When we pray we are hoping God will answer “yes” to our prayers, at least in some form, or we wouldn’t pray at all. Right? We wouldn’t generally pray for anything for which we were hoping for a “no” (although the Holy Spirit may prompt us, occasionally, to pray in obedience for something to which we may not be quite willing to submit). But there are times when God answers “yes” which can be problematic for us. Sometimes it’s when we are praying for God to send “someone” to help a person or situation, and it becomes clear that the “someone” He is sending is us, and the “yes” upsets our comfort zone. There are other times when He answers outside our box in unexpected ways, such as when we pray that we will trust Him more and deepen our faith, and He unleashes a situation in our lives where we must either cling to Him in faith and trust or sink under the weight of the circumstances. Such yeses end up being glorious in the end, but are often difficult in the process.

However, the “yes” to which I’m referring today is when God’s “yes” releases such an abundance of blessing it is almost embarrassing. It’s sort of like God’s yes to Solomon’s request for wisdom. Not only did God grant him that wisdom, but added fame and wealth and power on top of that “yes.” Recently, in my own life, many have prayed for my healing from stage IV-a cancer, and it appears God has said “yes.” As of this writing the PET scans are clear, my strength has returned, and I’d say I’m somewhere in the 90% of being restored to where I was before the diagnosis (although some of the hearing loss may be permanent, barring God’s further healing).

I have so much for which to be grateful—and I am! But it also leaves me with a little survivor’s guilt. There are currently 10 people on my prayer list with cancer, many of whom have metastatic cancer. As I was watching God work in miraculous ways in my own life, I also watched some of these dear souls spiral downward physically, facing increasing pain, spreading malignancy, and battling discouragement. It almost made me not want to “boast in the Lord” for what He was doing in my life, because I didn’t want them to be discouraged because He wasn’t doing the same thing in theirs.

Yet, my prayer list from the inception of my cancer journey had at its top: “That God would be glorified.” The second request was for my family as they dealt with my illness. The third was for my refinement in the process, and my healing didn’t even make the list until number 4. Since my top priority was God’s glory, not to give Him thanks and praise for how He sustained and healed me would be to nullify my greatest desire. So, almost embarrassed by the abundance of His mercy and grace, I have continued to gratefully point to Him, and to thank the many who prayed so fervently for my healing.

God gives yeses to us because He loves to bless His people. He gives us yeses because He wants to testify to His goodness and power. He gives us yeses because He wants to encourage us to continue to pray, seeing our prayers make a difference. The fact is, the “yes” of my life was not just my “yes,” it was a “yes” for the many, many people who prayed for me—One “yes” multiplied over and over in order to bless many people, encourage their future prayers, and bring Him glory as they each respond in gratitude for His answers to their intercession.

God has said many yeses to each of us, both in little and large ways. How well do we acknowledge them? Do we spend a proportionate amount of time praising and thanking Him for the answers as we put into the asking? Do we hold back on praise because, like me, we are embarrassed by the abundance of the “yes,” and don’t want to wave it in the face of those who are still waiting for “yes,” or have heard “no”? Let’s take some time right now to offer some thanks and praise for God’s yeses in our lives and those for whom we pray. Let’s ask Him to make us more aware of His “yeses,” and to give us ways to use them to glorify Him in the hearing of others, to encourage them and exalt Him in their presence.

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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