So Be It
"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." 2 Corinthians 1:20 (KJV)
That verse is probably the most puzzling Scripture you’ve ever committed to memory. Why? Because when you’re left standing on those unfulfilled promises, you start to pepper yourself with questions shaded by confusion like, "Did God just slip in a 'No,' somewhere before that ‘yea and amen’ part? Am I standing in the wrong place? Does that Scripture even apply to me or is it only for all those ‘Super Christians’ out there who’ve got this walk sorted out?”
Take a closer look at the Scripture.
"In Jesus we hear a resounding 'yes' to all of God’s many promises. This is the reason we say 'Amen' to and through Jesus when giving glory to God."
2 Corinthians 1:20 (The Voice)
Does that mean you will get everything you ask for as long as you believe so? Perhaps you’ve come to believe the verse means if you declare your desired answer over and over God will just capitulate to the answer you’ve been rehearsing. Maybe you’ve begun to believe that everything you pray for will be greeted by that ever elusive “yea and amen” if you supplement your prayers with a lengthy fast - water only - or praise and worship so robust your vocal chords emerge raw or so much reading of a Bible Commentary, you could paraphrase Marten Luther's Ninety-Five Theses.
That kind of understanding of “yea and amen” only leads to the disillusionment you’re now experiencing. As cute as the concept is, God will never be that “genie in a bottle” who wafts up when you summon Him. No.
"For as many as [are] promises of God, in him [are] the Yes, and in him the Amen, for glory to God through us;" 2 Corinthians 1:20 (Young's Literal Translation)
Read that literal translation, again. He never promised you that “YES” is His response to everything you request, everything you want, everything you pray for. That’s the rub.
Start with what He has promised as written in the Bible. Then, you won’t pray in error. In other words, know what to pray for. Your heart’s desires are a good pace to start. Not your vanities, not your fantasies. Rewind your prayer tape to give an honest listen to those heavily detailed requests you send up.
"Are you now going to accuse me of being flip with my promises because it didn’t work out? Do you think I talk out of both sides of my mouth - a glib yes one moment, a glib no the next? Well, you’re wrong. I try to be as true to my word as God is to his. Our word to you wasn’t a careless yes canceled by an indifferent no. How could it be? When Silas and Timothy and I proclaimed the Son of God among you, did you pick up on any yes-and-no, on-again, off-again waffling?Wasn’t it a clean, strong Yes? Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus."
2 Corinthians 1:17-22 (The Message)
God promises to keep HIS word to meet your needs and many of your wants - in order to complete the good work He began in you until Jesus returns.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
So, you want to get married? Pray for a mate. That’s cool. It’s not good for man to be alone. That’s in the Bible. A marriage partnership is a good thing but your whacky specifics can lead you to that narrow place of disappointment.
Specifics aren’t bad when they make sense and aren’t fantasies. A mate who looks like Clooney with the height of Denzel? A mate built like Kate Upton with the complexion of Halle Berry? The stock options of Warren Buffett, credentials of Sheryl Sandberg and skill set of Dr. Ben Carson? Sometimes, we frame our prayers with those kinds of dubious details.
Do you have any of the same to match that mate you want in your life? That’s a good way to judge if your prayers are just vanity or are somewhat realistic.
Ok, so you want a nice home. That's cool. What about that house you’ve walked around seven times? Can you even afford a 5% down payment on the $2.2m McMansion you've pinned to your PInterest board? How about that 3 bedroom, $850K condo? Let it go. Go pray across town and start circling that semi-detached you can afford.
Unless you’re Mark Batterson trying to open a coffee house to the glory of God, you most likely will not get an anonymous $3m to purchase a home!
As Pastor Michael Giroux of The City Church DC says, “Plan for the practical and pray for the miracle.”
Ok, so you want a nice car to get around. Nothing wrong with that. Just stop asking God for a Rolls or that other hand-made, crazy expensive vehicle. Just go buy it. Clearly, you can afford such a beauty; its upkeep; its gas and the insurance on it. Oh, you can’t? LET IT GO. Get a Toyota.
God promised the following with His "yea and amen" to back it up:
He would heal you; give you peace; be the banner over you. He promised He would never leave you; that you have the victory over your enemy and you won’t have to beg for food.
He promised He would settle the barren woman in her home as the happy mother of children; that He would be Baal Perazim – God of the breakthrough – and be your Shepherd. He promised yea and amen to the new mercies you would see every morning and that the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him.
He said, “Yea and Amen” to your righteousness shining forth as the noon day sun; that He will give you a crown of beauty for your ashes and that the valley you are walking through is but a shadow. He promised to prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies and He said, “Yes and So Be it” to that tremendous plan, hope and future He has written out for you next to your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
He promised “Yea” with an affirmation to renew your strength; that living waters flow for you and that you are the lender not the borrower; that you are the head and not the tail and that if you obey Him, you will be blessed coming in and going out.
Stand on those promises He made - in writing. That is where you get His “yea and amen.”
Corrie Ten Boom said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Follow her advice if you want to lay hold of what He means when He says, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." AMEN and SO BE IT!