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He did to me…many times! Twenty-three years ago, I begged and pleaded to have my sight back. God said no.
But let me tell you what He said "yes" to a life of peace, contentment, purpose, joy and confidence I’d never known when I had physical sight. He said "no" to what I wanted…but yes, to what I desperately needed. I found that often a "yes" is hidden when His answer is "no."
I’d like to share Pastor David’s powerful experience:
"When I was living in Chattanooga in 1995, an old high school friend, Lane Drennan, called to say she had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer – and she wanted me to teach her how to pray. Long story short, over the next few months, we prayed a lot.
I went out to Dallas to see her twice – and then we arranged to hold a Healing Service in April of that year. I had a good friend, and an elder in the church I served, Reid Henson, who had been healed twice from malignancies and had a very active ministry of prayer to those in similar situations. He agreed to fly out with me – and he had access to a private plane. That same day, the Federal building was bombed in OKC, and Billy Graham was asked to come and speak at the memorial service.
The owner of our plane was called, and thus, I wound upon a plane with Billy Graham for three hours before we went on to Dallas. He was marvelous and we prayed together for Lane – and he said he would be praying later that day as well. Long story short, Lane was not healed – and I was pretty angry about it. Not fair. Mad at God. She was newly married and only 32. Just didn’t get it.
It was a journey of grace that God took me on that helped me understand his grace – and His ultimate yes – His ultimate victory given to us in Christ.
However, Lane’s mother, also named Lane, was more angry that I had been – and very bitter. She went to church off and on – and while she did not reject her faith, it was a distant relationship at best – and over time, we lost contact. I think I represented the God that she was so angry at, so we just stopped talking. It was just too painful.
On August 12, I preached "When God Says No" and told that story about Lane – and all that God taught me. I had not mentioned her in years – and I had not communicated with her mother in 11 years. The next morning, I had an email from a Presbyterian newspaper man. Lane had emailed him asking if he knew of me – and wanting to get in touch with me. He forwarded her email to me – and that’s how we connected on that Monday.
It was just unbelievable to hear from her that day. Not only that, but she shared a story of healing and growth – of God’s goodness in her life – and while her grief is not gone, she again has felt the warm embrace of God.
Here are her own words from her email. (Bill was her husband who died about five years before Lane):
“As you know, anger is a part of the grief process. When Bill died I talked to God all the time. I had so much on my plate to deal with along with the shock and grief - financial problems, where do I go from here, etc. I felt so close to God.
With Lane it was so different. I had watched her suffer in total disbelief for 9 months. The only thing about her passing was that she was no longer in horrible pain. My anger took over - with all the prayers going out on her behalf, it still was not enough for the Lord to spare her. I could not understand why God would take someone so energetic, so giving, so vivacious, so full of life. Someone made the remark that she has done more in 32 years that most of us do in a life time.
My church had been with us day and night all through this time. After she died when I needed the church to help me cope with her loss and with my faith it was no longer there.
I moved back home still feeling separated from God. Since then I have renewed a friendship with a man from my high school during our 50th reunion. Over many emails I related my struggle with my faith. He is very close to the Lord and knows so much about what the Bible says. He has helped me to return to the arms of Jesus. I have become an avid reader of the Bible and as many Christian books as I can find. I can't seem to get enough. I am more at peace now more than I have been in years."
When we interpret God saying "no"…it’s a matter of time before He shows you the amazing "yes."
If you’d like to read more encouraging illustrations, check my book. Just click to the "author" page to read some excerpts.
Please come back for more inspiration moments.