times God said, "Yes. . ." As a former professional tennis
player, Kay McDaniel received the award for "Fastest Serve
in Women's Professional Tennis." Professionally ranked #30
in the world, she competed at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
a few years ago, God say "No." Kay was diagnosed with
systemic lupus and Addison's disease. Kay shares a bit of the
lessons she's learned . . .
you ever received an answer like this from God? You earnestly, specifically,
and directly prayed again. The response from God remained the same,
"No!" It was quite a blow, wasn't it? Despite your prayers
lining up with God's Word, His character, and His will, the word
from God's throne room was an emphatic denial.
Why didn't God
respond as you had believed and hoped? Good question, but better
yet, how have you responded to God's "No?" Not so well?
Paul knew something about God's "No's" as evidenced in
I Corinthians 12:8,9. Paul asked God to remove his thorn and despite
being denied of this he persisted. At least three times he knocked
on heaven's door waiting on an eloquent answer from God, yet the
answer remained the same. "No!"
We must realize
that God does
answer our prayers, in whatever manner He sees fit and many times
this doesn't suit our preconceived idea of a right answer. Often,
for some distinct reason(s) that only Heaven will reveal, He chooses
a different route. At these times it would behoove us to not merely
yield to His supremacy but to trust His sovereignty. After all,
God sees all, knows all, and is all. Above all, God desires to transform
us with His power and one of the best ways to accomplish it is through
hard places, spiritual wildernesses, and fiery trials.
When Jesus was
on the cross, he desperately needed and wanted a "Yes!"
from God. Instead, he received a resounding "No!" Why
did God deny His only Son? So that we would not be denied! Jesus
had the power to call upon angels to minister to him or to deliver
him, but he chose not to intervene in the natural order of things.
The good news about suffering? If yielded to God, it can:
our understanding and knowledge of Him
- broaden our
us to the things of God
- equip us
for kingdom service
- enhance our
relationship with God and others
- usher in
our spiritual senses
- keep us close
to the cross
- help us rid
ourselves of self-efficiency and lean on God's power
- help us learn
keener listening skills and obedience
- remove the
impurities in our lives
Philip Yancey in Where is God When it Hurts, Job's response
when all the props of his faith were removed would prove or disprove
Satan's challenge. Job is a hero to the suffering because he stood
strong in the midst of devastating trouble, pain, and loneliness.
It seems that our spiritual experience is nourished best in the
wilderness places - as long as we don't desert Him.
C.S. Lewis said
it best, "Pain, the megaphone of God. God whispers to us in
our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain."
Another favorite writer, Joe Stowell, President of Moody Bible Institute,
said of pain, "With God, there is always a reason for pain.
He never permits pain without a purpose."
The heroes of
the faith were heroes because through pain, they remained. Stowell
believes that Job was called upon to prove a point on God's behalf.
He suffered to prove the worthiness of God and there could be no
higher calling. In Corinthians 1:8 and 2:5-11 it emphasizes that
a main staple in perseverance is "patient endurance."
This important ingredient comes as a direct result of our standing
strong during times of suffering. Hebrews 12:1 says to "Run
with patience the particular race that God has set before you."
(Living Bible) And almost comical, in Hebrews 10:36 it states, "For
you have need of patience
" You got that right!
that I was directing of the city-wide tennis camps I got an urgent
phone call from my doctor. He told me to get off the courts immediately
because the MRI test taken days earlier revealed a herniated disc
which had caused a bone chip to be lodged in my spinal canal. This
chip had been causing severe pain because it was pressing in on
the nerves. It would have to be surgically removed as soon as possible.
The next day
I could not get out of bed. I was stuck! If I can't rise from the
bed, how am I going to be able to see a doctor? I wondered. A doctor
friend arranged for me to see a top neurosurgeon. I told him my
plight and he said he would see me as soon as I arrived. But. .
.how was I going to get there? I could hardly see my toes, much
less get up on them!
led, I crept onto the Louisiana-bound plane where I stood the entire
trip from Tennessee. Upon arrival, I collapsed on the floor with
severe pain resulting in round-the-clock pain medications, muscle
relaxers, and anti-inflammatory pills. My surgery was set for early
Monday morning but this was only Friday and I was quickly losing
motor abilities in my foot and leg. The operation was successful.
However, because of the long wait I had incurred a "drop foot"
that did not leave after surgery. The neurosurgeon had performed
many back surgeries but he had never witnessed a patient recover
from this rare post- surgery syndrome. The pain was gone but I wasn't
able to lift my foot onto a curb. It was lifeless. Stunned, I wondered,
Will I ever be the same?
can read the rest of this article in the July/August issue which
can be ordered here.
McDaniel lives in Cleveland, TN. She contends with these chronic
and progressive illnesses on a daily basis and walks in wholeness
of health and victory because of the grace of Jesus Christ. Through
this "thorn" God has richly blessed her life as as a Christian