“Pastor, I have been praying for this for 45 years.” These were the words of an elderly Christian lady as she talked to me about her desire to see her husband come to Christ. Now he lay in a hospital bed after radical surgery for cancer and he was left unable to speak. During this conversation I was struck by two things. The first was the love and persistence of this long-suffering wife. The second was how after years of praying and years of no response she did not give up her trust in the Lord.
There are times when it seems like God is saying “no” to our requests, or at least a positive answer has not yet come. Do we view this as a rejection or do we look for what God is really saying? Often times, when it looks like God is saying “no”, He is really saying something else – things like…”trust my timing,” or “I can accomplish more by not intervening than coming to a dramatic rescue.” As Paul learned in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, sometimes a “no” is really a “yes” to what He wants to do in and through us, in spite of difficulties. Perhaps we should never take “no” as the final answer.
And what of the wife who didn’t give up? Shortly before her husband’s body could no longer fight off the cancer, through nods and hand signals we both were convinced that he had put his faith in Jesus. To God be the glory!