WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

I learned early on in my life that I couldn’t have everything I wanted. No – you can’t have cookies before dinner. No – you can’t ride your bike in the middle of the street. No – you can’t have every toy on your Christmas list. And the list went on. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, my parents were simply trying to teach me an important life lesson. As caring parents, they wanted what was best for me. This is sometimes a hard lesson to learn. Children will often respond to their parents’ “no”, by kicking and screaming. Classic child responses: “Why not?” “Why can’t I have what I want?”

THE VERSES THAT TELL US WE WILL RECEIVED WHATEVER WE ASK FOR

As adults, we understand why our parents refused some of our requests. And we’ve learned through life experiences that we don’t always get what we want. So why do we question our Heavenly Father when He responds with a “no” to our prayers? Is it because verses like Matthew 7:7-8 tell us we will receive whatever we ask for, if we just keep asking?

THEY DON’T SAY HE WILL GIVE US EXACTLY WHAT WE ASKED FOR

If we look at these verses out of context and build our understanding around them, they appear to say so, don’t they? But Jesus continues in verses 9-11 saying: Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?…..If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” There is nothing wrong with persistent prayers. The Bible clearly states that we should pray without ceasing. But you’ll notice that while these verses promise that God will provide, they don’t say that He will give us exactly what we ask for. As the good Father, God knows what is best for us in any situation. When He answers with a “no”, it could be because He has something better for us.

DAVID’S SON DIED DESPITE HIS DESPERATE PLEAS

We see this in the life of David. When David and Bathsheba’s son died, despite his desperate pleas to spare the child’s life, David did not question God. Instead, after his son’s death, he when to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. He accepted what God had done; that God is sovereign in all things. And in 1 Chronicles 17, when David received word from the Lord through his good friend Nathan that he would not be the one to build the Lord’s temple, David responded by rejoicing and giving thanks to God. David was truly grateful for all that the Lord had done for him and his family, even when God answered “no”.

“NO” DOESN’T MEAN THERE IS NO BLESSING

When God answers “no”, it doesn’t mean that there is no blessing in response to our prayer. David and Bathsheba went on to have another son, Solomon, who became the one to build the temple. And God declared that Jesus, the Messiah, would come from that line of David.

GOD HAS NOT ABANDONED US

Conversely, we may experience devastating heartbreak and loss when God says “no”. It’s hard to find the blessing in times like these. We question why a loved one has not been healed or why bad things happen to good people. But perhaps a more fitting response would be to ask God, “What do You desire to teach us through it all?” We can find comfort in knowing that God has not abandoned us. He is still with us and working on our behalf. God is never silent in response to our prayers. He will never give us that which is not in our best interest. God sees things that we cannot see. He is sovereign and His plan is perfect.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

What is your response when God answers “no” to your prayers? Do you kick and scream and ask, “Why not?” Or do you desire to see what God is teaching you in that moment? I hope you have discovered you can trust that our Heavenly Father knows what is best for you. He is trustworthy.

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