Acts 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.
King Herod had arrested Peter and he was preparing to have him executed. The church and Peter began to pray and during the evening hours God sent an angel to rescue Peter. God heard and answered the prayers of Peter and the church.
But we read that shortly before Peter had been arrested, James had also been arrested and he was put to death. No doubt that James and the church had also prayed for his release but the answer this time from God was no.
What was the difference? Did God care more for Peter than for James? No He didn’t. So why did God allow James to die while He spared Peter? The body of Christ trusted God’s will in these matters, and accepted the love and wisdom of their Heavenly Father.
We are reminded in Psalms 8 look up at the heavens and galaxies that He has created, to look at His handmade skies; to gaze upon the Moon and all the stars mounted in their settings. Then to look at our small human existence and wonder, why does He bother with us? Why does He take a second look our way? We read that even though we are mere mortals, He is mindful of us, and even though we human beings are minute in all of creation He cares about us.
We are on the mind of God. He cares about us 24/7. Every second of every minute of every day, you are on the mind of God. How refreshing and how reassuring it is to know that the Mighty God of all creation cares about little ole you and me.
It is not always easy to accept when God says no. We do have assurance that God will answer our prayers in Jeremiah 33:3
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’.
Here we have the assurance that God indeed will hear our prayer. Every time, as we call upon Him, He will answer us. So that whole thing comes down to trust and obedience. Do you trust Him, in every matter? Will you obey Him, in every matter, in every situation, even if He tells you “no”? Herein lies the secret of living a victorious life; by accepting and living in the center of God’s will.
We need to be reminded that even though that we are sons of God by the Blood of the Lamb and co-heirs adopted through Christ Jesus, we are still servants of God. He is God, and we are His servants here on earth for His glory, for His purpose that He might be glorified in our lives. It is He that we are to serve and follow. Many times that He might be glorified, His answer to us will be no, that the name of God will be glorified in all creation. He is the Creator, we are His creation. He is God, we are His servants.
Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 26:42. “Your will be done”. This is the secret of understanding when God says no.
I was in the grocery store recently and watched as a young mother was instructing her 3-year-old son not to open a bottle on the shelf. She told him “no”. The young boy then fell to the ground, kicking his feet and yelling and screaming at the top of His lungs. The mother had his best interest in mind as she knew the contents of the bottle were dangerous for the young. She was caring and loving as she told him no. God in His wisdom is like the mindful mother with her young son. Many things that we pray for God to open in our lives may be dangerous for us. God tells us no in love and protection as our Heavenly Father.
We need to accept God’s will for our lives. We need to pray accordingly. When we pray we need to pray that we conform to God’s will, not vice-versa. When we pray, we need to ask, believing that we will receive. We also need to say, Father I expect you to answer my prayer, and if your answer is no, I accept that. I know that love and care for me and I will trust you in all the ways of my life, and accept your that will is accomplished in my life, not my own. After all believers, when God says “no”, we need to trust Him, as “Father Knows Best”.