Thanking God for all that He withholds

So, I heard a sermon by Buddy Owens last night. The sermon was about being filled with the Holy Spirit, but there was one line in his prayer that completely grabbed my attention! He said, “Thank you, Father for all that You have withheld from me.”

WHOA!!! What?!?!

That is a completely foreign concept to me! I mean, we’re taught to thank God for all that He’s given us. We’re taught to come to Him and ask for all that we desire, but I’ve never heard anyone teach me to thank God for all that He has withheld!!

That’s a peculiar thought in this church culture that often preaches a prosperity gospel.

I started to think about all the times in my life that God has withheld things from me. The first thing that came to mind was when I begged God over and over for two years to bring my dad home after he had left my mom. He never came home. It rocked my world!

Then, I started thinking about the kids in Africa that I begged God to make mine. He still hasn’t.

Currently, I am asking God to keep my kids from making mistakes that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Will He answer?! What if His answer is no?

What do you do when God says no? When God withholds something that seems so good to you? Do you thank Him?

I honestly don’t think that’s a natural response. I believe that kind of response comes from years of walking with God and knowing Who He is. It comes from a place of deep trust in God, a place that believes He is good even when it doesn’t feel good.

It makes me think about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He only withheld one thing from them…a piece of fruit. To Eve, it looked good. Genesis 3:6-7 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”

Oh, how I wish she had trusted God in that moment!! Oh, how I wish that she would’ve listened to His Word and not the word of the enemy!! Oh, how creation has suffered because she ran after the one thing that God was withholding from her!!

As I reflect over my lifetime and all the times God has withheld something from me, I can now see His hand using all of those “no’s” to shape me into the woman I am today. I can say with 100% certainty that I am more like Christ for having suffered from the “no’s”. So, I thank Him!

I thank Him for withholding things from me that I hold dear.

I thank Him for being wiser than I am.

I thank Him for knowing the whole plan from beginning to end.

I thank Him for holding me through the hurt.

I thank Him for His goodness and His kindness in the midst of the “no’s”.

I thank Him for His nearness in my darkest hour.

I thank Him because, although I may never understand the why on this side of Heaven, I know my God, and I know He is good and that He is for me and not against me. I thank Him because He is God and I am not.

If you’re hurting because God hasn’t given you what you want, what you’ve asked for, I encourage you to trust Him and to thank Him!! He is doing something that you wouldn’t believe even if He told you. He’s shaping you into the image of Jesus. Trust Him and thank Him today!!

Fighting the Enemy


Wow!! It’s been quite the week!! The enemy has been roaring around my home like a lion. First Peter 5:6-11 says:

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We have a very real enemy, and I was reminded last night that we need to do REAL battle with him even though we can’t see him.  We need to be on the alert. We need to resist him. We need to have faith in God and cast our cares on Him. He is the One who will perfect us, confirm us, strengthen us, and establish us in the middle of this battle.

The devil hates us. He knows his time is short. He hates families. He hates Truth. He is the Father of all lies! The best way to battle him is with Truth, the sword of the Spirit. He likes to sneak into our thought lives and tell us lies about ourselves, about our God, and about others. We must resist him. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

So, how do you resist him? How do you do battle with him when his attacks are lies?

God’s Word gives us the weaponry we need. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Our thought life matters!!! If the enemy is whispering lies to us, then we need to scream out the truth to him.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

When you’re in the middle of a war and you’re tired and weary, it’s really easy to let the enemy captivate you. If you don’t have truth stored up in you, then you will either fail, or you will need someone else to come to your rescue. Thank God for the body of Christ!! Sometimes we need to surround ourselves with others in the middle of the battle. We need others to speak truth into our lives. We need them to remind us of all the truths that we may know but are too worry cling to.

That’s what happened for me last night. Monday, I was face down in my closet crying out to God because I was at the end of my rope. The only words I could utter were, “Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!” And guess what? He showed up!! He began to surround me with others who could help me battle, who could carry the burden with me, who could remind me of all that I know to be true.

Last night I was reminded that I need to fight for my family. I need to go to battle with the enemy!! So, today, I woke up and put my armor on. Before the day even started, I told the enemy OUT LOUD where he could go. I reminded him that he has no authority in my life or my home. I reminded him that Jesus has already paid the price for the redemption of ALL of my sins and the sins of the entire world. I told him to get out!! And then I talked to my Savior and Lord and asked for continued protection and healing in my family. I believe that God has great plans for my family, and I can’t wait to see how God takes all of these trials that we’re going through and uses them for our good.

He is faithful! He is here in the middle of the mess!! I trust Him to fight for me!!