Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 25 — God's “No” Is Often Temporary
Matthew 15:21-28, "Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."
Sometimes God says, "No," when He means, "After awhile, yes; but now, no." Here is a lady who sought deliverance from our Lord. Imagine her preparation. She had spent all her money on the physicians. I wonder how many times a good doctor had been recommended to her. I wonder how many times her hopes had been lifted only to fall again when a physician failed. I wonder how many times she had come home and cried herself to sleep believing that there was not another who could help. I wonder how many times she had given up completely and then taken faith when someone else would recommend a new remedy, and now she hears that Jesus is nearby! Can you see her rising early in the morning? Can you feel her heartbeat as she gets closer to the Saviour? Then finally she gets to touch Him and to ask for help. Then the Scripture says, "He answered not a word." She was completely ignored. Jesus was saying, "No," but He didn't mean "no" permanently. It was only a temporary "no." He wanted to see if she meant business. He said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Maybe He was saying, "This is not your dispensation. This is the dispensation of the Jew. He then discourages her more when He said, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs." Ah, but she wasn't through yet! She reminded him that even the dogs have a right to hang around the table and catch the crumbs. After saying, "No," and after testing her sincerity, the dear Saviour then said, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
I wonder how many people have quit right before the answer came. I wonder how many races could have been won because the victory was just around the next corner when the runner quit.
The question comes, "How do I know how long to ask?" Now that is your problem! The words, "How long?" are your problem. You are wanting to know when you quit asking, but that fact that you consider quitting is your problem. I'll tell you exactly how long it will be before you have your prayer answered—when He knows you won't quit. There is no time limit placed upon pleading with God for an answer! Then there will come a time when God will say, "That fellow is not going to quit bothering me. He is going to keep on praying." Then the dear Lord's "no" becomes a "yes."
We fail to understand Luke 11:9,10, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." This is all in the linear or continual tense. It is something never stopped; for example, we will sleep as long as we live on this earth. We will eat as long as we live on this earth. Now if we keep pleading with God as long as we live on this earth, and He knows that we will, He will often change a "no" to a "yes."
This is the meaning of Luke 18:1, "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." This is the meaning of the parable of the unjust judge who became so weary because the lady pleaded with him to avenge her of her adversary, that he finally said, "You leave me alone, and I'll grant your request." If an unjust judge would do this, how much more would a Heavenly Father do this when He knows that we will not take "no" for an answer.
This is what Moses meant in Exodus 32:32, " Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written."
Sometimes God says, "No!" now, but it is a temporary "no" because sometimes it is not best for us now. Later it may be best. So keep on praying; sometimes His "no's" become "yeses."
Sometimes God wants us to prove our desire. He wants to know how much we want something. When He finds that we want it so much that we will keep on asking and keep on asking and keep on asking, He changes a "no" to a "yes."
Sometimes He tarries just to be with the Christian. He wants to be with you. The only way many of us will spend time with God is if we are pleading for something from Him, so often He says, "No," at first so that we will continue pleading.
Did you ever have a little puppy dog who was barking for a piece of meat? You held the piece of meat above him and he barked again. You enticed him with it, and he jumped up high and barked again. You knew you were going to give him the meat; you just wanted to hear him bark for awhile! Often, God intends to give you the meat; but He wants to hear you bark. It's the only chance He gets to hear you bark. Sometimes He says, "No," at first and then He says, "Yes," later because He wants to be with you.
Then sometimes He says, "No," now and "Yes" later because the Christian is not ready yet for the answer. If you had the answer now, it would do you harm, but after you have prayed and fasted and persevered in supplication, you are able to take the answer to prayer, and God's timing is delayed until you are ready to accept and use properly His answer.
Sometimes God says, "No," today, but it will be "Yes" tomorrow. Sometimes He says, "No," today, but it will be "Yes" next year. Sometimes He says, "No," today, but it will be "Yes" many years from now. Promise that you are going to continue praying and pleading and begging. Convince yourself that you will never quit. When God is convinced, He often changes a "no" to a "yes," for God's "no" is often temporary.
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