You’ve probably heard the famous story of how Jesus cast the legion of demons out of a man who lived in the region of the Gerasenes on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:26-39). In that story three requests are made of Jesus:

The demons request to be sent into the swine . . . Granted.
The people of the region ask Jesus to leave . . . Granted.
The man Jesus cured asks to go with him . . . Denied

Very unusual if you think about it. The one request you would most expect Jesus to grant, he refuses, saying simply, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).

The man’s request was both honorable and understandable. Why wouldn’t he want to be with Jesus? And think about the impact his testimony would have all over Israel.

Jesus turned him down flat. Why? Not because he didn’t love him but because he did. He loved him enough to send him back home where he would do the most good. 

That’s a hard lesson to learn, isn’t it? Answered prayer isn’t always a blessing. When God says “No,” it’s not always a setback. When Jesus said, “You can’t go with me,” he was really saying, “But I will go with you. I am with you now, and I will still be with you even when I leave." 

He answered the request in a way the man never dreamed.

Was the man disappointed? Probably. But returning home was as much for the townspeople as it was it for him. They needed to see for themselves that his deliverance was complete and permanent.

Pray boldly–and remember that “No” doesn’t always mean “No.” Sometimes “No” is really a “Yes” in disguise.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.