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God reveals his power in weakness, Crews tells Golden Gate students

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–God’s purposes and power unfold not only when he answers “yes” to prayer, but when he says “no” as well, William O. Crews, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, told students Feb. 5.
“Early on in my Christian life, I always expected God to say yes at some point,” said Crews, speaking at the opening chapel of the Mill Valley, Calif., seminary’s semester. “I soon learned that God does say no and I had to go back and study my faith to deal with that.”
Crews urged students to say yes to God’s grace in the midst of difficult circumstances.
“There are times in life when we seek to determine where we will serve, and God tells us no,” Crews said. “If I always had my way, I wouldn’t be here at Golden Gate Seminary as president, and I would have missed the best part of my ministry.”
Citing 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 in which the apostle Paul related his “thorn in the flesh” revealed God’s power, Crews made four observations about times when God answers “no” to prayer:
— It often comes on the heels of some fantastic spiritual experience.
Paul, Crews noted, realized his spiritual experience had the potential of allowing him to think more highly of himself and relying less on God. Crews said the 2 Chronicles 7:14 passage that church leaders often quote about the need for repenting and turning to God for revival occurred after a time of spiritual rejoicing. “God is far more concerned with your usefulness to him than anything else,” he said. “He will not allow you to mess up what he intends.”
— It may produce frustrating circumstances.
“Paul was spiritually frustrated in that he prayed over and over again for God to take away the circumstances that created his weakness,” Crews said. Talking about circumstances in his own life, Crews said even when he didn’t know what else to do, he knew to pray: “And we have prayed, asking God to heal, and he said no. As far as we know, he still says no.”
— It can lead to a fulfilling situation.
“God didn’t tell Paul his grace would eventually prove sufficient if he could just endure it,” Crews pointed out. “He said, ‘my grace is sufficient.’ He said, ‘I am with you. That’s all you need.'” God’s grace, Crews said, always keeps the scales in perfect balance: “It’s never too much, it’s never too little, it’s never too late. It’s always just right. His strength is sufficient.”
— It climaxes in a fitting surrender.
“Ministry becomes meaningful when you learn to delight in the will of God regardless of circumstances,” Crews said. “When you revel in the power and strength of God in your life, rather than focusing on the circumstances surrounding your ministry, you will enjoy the fulfillment of ministry and see the fruit God desires in your life.”

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  • Cameron Crabtree