In 1991 I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. The doctors said that my kidneys would fail but I couldn’t accept that. I asked for prayer and even had the elders of out church anoint me with oil and pray over me. I know, some of you will call me charismatic but I was desperate.“It” didn’t work.
I prayed continually and asked God to heal me but no healing came. Then there came a certain day. I was standing in my study and God spoke. Not to my ear and not so that anyone else could hear, but to my heart. He spoke through 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. It is Paul’s account of his prayer for relief from his thorn in the flesh. “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. …” When I read that I heard deep in my heart the Lord say, “My grace is sufficient for you as well. I will give you grace for whatever you have to go through.”
After a period of time on dialysis my wife gave me a kidney. That was nearly 20 years ago and God’s grace was sufficient then and it is sufficient now.
The basic prayer of the Christian is the glory of God. We want our God to receive the glory that this world denies Him. He deserves glory. When God denies specific prayers, in my case for healing, then we must assume that He has something in mind that will bring Him more glory. In Paul’s case, and in mine, it was an experience of grace so that the strength of God could be seen in our weaknesses.
It is so often that way. We pray and do not get the answer we want and then we feel forsaken or dispirited. The enemy comes to accuse our God to us and to tell us that He doesn’t care. He does care! He cares enough to give grace so that He will receive glory from us…which is our basic prayer anyway. And He cares enough that He demonstrates His strength through broken and weak men.
In our Western culture we are too quick to take the culture’s view. We look at young, healthy, men in the ministry who have it all together. If they are ever sick, no one knows. If they ever misspeak it is never recorded. They are the epitomes of success and strength. Many preachers, those battling sickness, getting older or just plain plain in their presentations get discouraged. Don’t be. It might be that your situation is designed to do what you really want anyway; To bring God glory and for Him to show His strength in you and through you. Leave the scoring of success up to the Lord and know, it is God’s grace that is sufficient, not your strength. And it is God’s glory that is at stake, not the immediate answer to your prayer. Trust Him. His grace IS sufficient for you and more.