Sometimes God says “No” by Randy Rowley 8/20/03 ©


God said “No” to me twice lately.  The first “No” was when I applied for the position of Quality Assurance Director at Brenham State School (as detailed on the 6/14/03 Word from the President page).  There were many factors that appealed to me.  The position paid 6K – 9K more a year than I am making now, Chris would only have had to work part time or possibly not at all, Chris could have continued her Seminary education at Southwestern Seminary’s branch in Houston, Deanna would have attended a middle school in a much smaller community, we would have lived in a much more conservative community, we would have lived in the country, and we would have said “goodbye” to Austin’s traffic congestion.  I went for two interviews and made it to the top four candidates.

But God said “No”.

Looking back I realize that God, in His infinite wisdom, was watching out for me.  If I had been offered, and taken, the job we would have had to sell our house (it would not have been easy to do right now in this buyer’s market), find an apartment for me in Brenham while our home sold, make two housing payments a month until our Austin home sold, deal with either moving Robin right before her senior year or deal with her living with someone else in Austin, and deal with Chris not having very many ministry opportunities in Brenham.  Chris made it very clear to me during this process that she enjoys working and would work (even unpaid) regardless of how much money I made.

God also knew the future.  He knew that Chris would be diagnosed with breast cancer.  If we had moved to Brenham there would have been less of a chance for her to be properly diagnosed and treated.  Yes, there are plenty of doctors in Brenham, but there are many more experts here.  It would have been terrible for Chris to try to sell one house, find another, deal with Robin, and deal with her illness at the same time.

The second “No” was regarding Chris’ illness.  In July, during Chris’ annual physical, her doctor felt a thickened area in her breast.  A mammogram showed a calcified area.  A needle biopsy on 7/25/03 confirmed the calcified area.  The tissue was termed pre-cancerous and stage 0 non-invasive cancer by her surgeon.  A lumpectomy on 8/1/03 showed that the marginal tissue was not clear of cancer cells.  A second lumpectomy on 8/19/03 showed that the marginal tissue was clear by 1.5 mm’s (they want at least 5 mm’s).  The surgeon recommended a mastectomy.  The Oncologist recommended today that Chris have a double mastectomy, as the likelihood that she would develop problems in the other breast is high.  Needless to say this is not what I, and others were praying for.

During these past few weeks I have had many thoughts run through my head and have experienced many emotions (fear, anger, and grief, just to name a few).  At times, such as today, it felt like someone hit me in the stomach with a sledgehammer.  During times like these it is easy to question God.

Fortunately God’s Word has answers.  Romans 8:28-30 says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”  When bad things happen to good people it is because He is allowing it to happen in order for Him to be glorified!  He foreknew us.  We are predestined to become like Jesus.  We are called, we are justified (forgiven), and we are glorified.  One of the things that I am certain of in life is Chris loves God.  He will cause all things to work together for the good for her.  We may not see it now or even understand until we are in Glory, but He will make good come out of this bad.  God also allowed something very bad to happen to His only Son – to die an agonizing death for people who hated and hate God.  But much good has come from it.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  Many Biblical scholars believe that Paul was afflicted with a disease of his eyes.  In Galatians 4:15b Paul states “For I bear you witness, that if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.”  The Apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament.  His missionary journeys saved thousands and his words save thousands more.  The “Roman Road” and “Four Spiritual Laws” are taken directly from his writings.  He, more than any other person, is responsible for the spread of Christianity, yet God refused to remove Paul’s disease.  Again it was so that God may be gloried through Paul’s weakness.

In looking at Paul’s life it would have been very easy for him to have blamed God.  In addition to his physical illness(es) he had to endure beatings, whippings, jailings, accusations, shipwrecks, and a stoning.  He lived in constant danger.  He went without food, water, and shelter.  Despite all of this he always praised God to share the sufferings of Christ.  The Bible has many more examples of people who despite having to endure much hardship remained faithful.  Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jonah, Job, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist are just a few of the many who went through tremendous trials, some even onto death.  Yet they remained faithful.

Looking at this latest “No” I once again realize that God was watching out for us.  Her thickened area could have very easily been missed by her doctor.  The Radiologist who viewed Chris’ mammogram right before her biopsy told her that her breast looked normal.  She said that Chris did not need the biopsy.  If we had not gone through with the biopsy her cancer could have easily become invasive (spread) and life threatening.  Although God has said “No” to healing Chris He has said “Yes” to sparing her life.  I thank Him for that.  I also thank Him for giving man medical knowledge and wisdom.  With a mastectomy there is only a one percent chance that the cancer will return.

At times God will say, “No” – sometimes when we least expect it.  As Christians we need to be prepared for how we will respond.

Categories : Devotionals

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