When God says, “No”
When God says, “No”
by Rick Walker
There is perhaps nothing that tries our faith more than when God answers our prayer with a “No.” I am certain many of us know of Christians who lost their faith and walked away from the Lord because He did not give them the desires of their heart. I have also talked to people who say they would never become a Christian because He did not do what they wanted when they prayed to Him. Dealing with God’s “No’s” is truly a test of faith!
Sometimes those “No” answers come at the expense of someone we love. Perhaps it is a sickness or some other calamity which has befallen them. We ask God to intervene, but His answer is “No”! This is difficult to accept. This even happened to someone God called, “a man after His own heart,” 1 Samuel 13:14. King David’s newborn son became gravely ill. David prayed and fasted for 7 days! But in the end, the child died. David arose, bathed, and ate a meal. When asked about his response, David said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now that the child has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me,” 2 Samuel 12:22-23. He had God’s answer. Nothing (not anger, not harming himself, etc.) would change it. It was time to move forward!
Other times these “No” answers come at our own expense. The apostle Paul asked three times for the Lord to remove something from his life. God’s response, was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is perfected in [your] weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9a. What was Paul’s reaction to that answer – anger, tears, cursing God? He responded, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me,” v. 9b. He accepted God’s answer and saw in it a reason to glorify God!
Even Jesus received a “No” answer to a prayer, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” Matthew 26:39a. He knew that the cross would separate Him from His Father for the first time in all eternity and He did not want that to happen. Yet He understood even God’s “No” answers are given out of His love. So He went on to pray, “…yet not as I will, but as You will,” v. 39b. And because of this, all mankind now has the opportunity to spend our eternity in heaven with our Lord!
Sometimes a “No” is the most loving thing a teacher, a parent, or even God can say. For in His case, the scriptures teach, “We know that God causes all things [even “No” answers] to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28!