Have you ever had a request denied? Maybe for a passport or a visa. Maybe for a loan or a book publication. Our most recent denial was when the health insurance company turned down a request for funds to pay for a procedure that my husband needed. Fortunately, the doctor went to bat for us, pleaded our case, and eventually received approval for the necessary treatment.
We make lots of requests, don’t we! Especially to God. Sometimes I’m embarrassed for asking so many things of Him. But He tells us to come to Him boldly, to ask without fear. “Pray without ceasing,” said Paul in II Thessalonians 5:17. And here’s one of my favorites: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 113:6).
But are some requests denied? Well, if Jesus and Paul both had requests denied, I guess we shouldn’t complain when that happens to us. Jesus, in His prayer in Gethsemane, asked the Father to remove the terrible cup of suffering He would soon drink. What if God had granted that request? There would be no suffering for Jesus, but no salvation or redemption for us. He knew that this was not God’s will. He saw the bigger picture and knew what God’s plan was.
Paul asked God to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” but God denied his request three times and finally gave Him this important answer. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). God has His reasons for saying “No.” He sees the bigger picture and works things together for good (Romans 8:28).
As we bring our requests to God today, let’s be bold, but sensitive to His working in our lives. We can trust His understanding, not our own. Many times I’m reminded of this challenge: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
Along that line, here are the profound lyrics to a beautiful song: “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart” (Babbie Mason/ Eddie Carswell).
What if God stamps “Request Denied” on your petition? Are you OK with that?