When God says “no,” what is the lesson? | Faith

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

I am sure that we all can remember that one occasion when we were growing up and asked our parents for that one special gift, and we received a resounding reply of, “No!” Our little hearts and feelings were just shattered. Some of our thoughts were probably as follows: “How can they say no to me; I did all my chores?” “Why are they being so mean?” “They don’t love me anymore!” “They hurt my feelings.”
Whatever our thoughts were, we have to understand that our parents had a reason(s) for saying no. They were older with more wisdom and knowledge than we could have ever had at that young age, so they knew what was best for us even though we saw it differently. Let’s face it; all we could see is what we wanted and why we could not have it!
Melissa Kruger, author and director of women’s content in The Gospel Coalition, shared in February 2018, “Life’s circumstances sometimes bring us to our knees, asking God to do what we cannot. Most of the time we’re praying for good things: healing for a loved one, freedom from sin patterns, a job, a spouse, a child, salvation. Yet, at times, our good desires remain unfulfilled. Years ago, I watched cancer take the life of a beloved friend, even though we fasted, prayed and begged God for her life. I’ve prayed for salvation that never happened, wombs that never opened, and spouses that never appeared. I’ve prayed for prodigals to return, but they still remain far from home. At times, God’s answer to our desperate cries is no,” she said.
There are verses of scripture that promise us that God will give us our desires: (All of the following scriptures come from the English Standard Version.)
• Psalm 37:4 — “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
• Proverbs 3:5 — “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
• Psalm 37:5 — “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
• Psalm 20:4 — “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!”
• John 15:7 — “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
If you notice in the selected verses above, it is revealed that God will act when you call upon Him, but it doesn’t say when. Therefore, that shows us that God is in total control of how our prayers are answered. We make our petitions known to God, but it is not in our hands to tell Him how and when to answer.
Just as our parents had dominion over us when we were growing up, whatever we asked of them, it was in their control how it was answered and handled. They had their reasons, and sometimes the answer was, “Because I said so!” Then when God tells us “No,” he has His reasons, and they are always going to be in our best interests. He is a God of love, so when He says “No,” it is not to be mean or to hurt us. There are lessons to be learned when He says “No”:
• It teaches us patience. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” (Psalm 27:14 KJV).
• We may not be able to handle what we ask for at the time when we ask God for something.
• We have to be obedient to His will.
• God wants to know that we trust Him.
• Sometimes, we ask for things that we don’t need or that will be of no benefit to us or anyone else.

• There are times when we pray selfish prayers.
• God is trying to strengthen us to receive what He is going to give us.
• God is not ignoring or failing us when He says “No.” He is in charge!
• The Lord comes in His time, not ours. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world…’” (John 18:36 ESV).
Finally, when God says “no” to our petitions, He could have something greater in store for us than we could ever imagine or comprehend. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Remember that when God says “no,” there is a reason, a plan and an outcome. Be glad and rejoice because He never ignores, leaves or fails us. Be assured that God loves His children.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, stay safe, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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