July 20, 2009
When God Says "No"
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14, NIV
Who likes to hear someone say “no”? I know I don’t.
Actually, as an average American female I can think of only two questions for which an answer of “no” is gratefully and enthusiastically received: “Do I look fat?” and “Do I have to pay full price for this?”
This year, the Lord said “no” to me regarding two different situations in my life for which I had asked Him—pleaded with Him—to say “yes.” In both cases, “no” was painful to hear and not the answer I wanted. So it took me a while to accept.
Many times, it’s seems easier to hear God say “no” when you can take a hard look at the facts and see why this is a good thing. But how about the alternative: Everything looks right on paper. This matches with this and that fits nicely with that. The timing is “perfect.” In fact, it’s the perfect [FILL IN THE BLANK] that you’ve been waiting for. So why, WHY, isn’t it a part of God’s life plan for you?
When you break it down, of course everything we can see makes sense to us. And therein lies the problem. We’re relying on our OWN knowledge and our OWN perspective to determine what is right.
But what we don’t know is everything that God knows. In other words, He knows everything about EVERYTHING that is going on in the plan for our lives. He is sovereign. And we only have an obstructed view through a scratchy, distorted lens.
So one would think that we’d gladly hand over our life decisions to Him. Whatever He says to us is gospel. Literally and figuratively. But we hem and we haw. We struggle, and we hold on tightly. We don’t like it when God says “no.”
From the Bible, we read of how God said “no” in the lives of Sarah, Moses, Job, Jesus, Paul and others. Sometimes the “no” was in response to disobedience or related to timing. Sometimes it was due to someone taking matters into his or her own hands, and other times there wasn’t an explanation at all. But in all cases, God’s “no” was part of His plan.
In the end, the same God who says “no” is the same God who says “yes.” We can’t do anything that will change that, and we won’t always understand. But how blessed are we to have a God who cares so deeply about the most minute details of our lives!
In good times and in bad, let us trust God and know that His purpose for our lives—even when He says “no”—is perfect and far better than anything we could ever plan for ourselves.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Has God told you “no” to a specific request? Write down the most recent “no’s” and thank Him for His providential hand in your life and how He is working everything for His good—even when you don’t understand His ways. Ask Him to help you submit to His will for your life.