Friday, August 21, 2020

What If God's Answer Is "No?"

When we pray about things, there are three ways God can answer. First (and the way we always hope for) is "Yes, immediately." Next, there is "Yes, but you will have to wait until my time." And then there is the answer we really don't want at all---"No. Not now. Not ever." 

I've come to realize that how we respond to that third answer---"No"---is the real measure of our trust in God. When he says "no" to something we yearn for with every fiber of our being, how do we respond to him? Do we accept his will, trust that he knows best, and praise him anyhow? Or do we whine and complain and shake our fist at him? Are we gracious with his "no?" Or are we angry and rebellious and, like Israel, insistent on "getting our king" no matter what. 

For almost two decades, I was the latter kind of woman---angry, bitter, depressed, and totally unwilling to accept "no" for an answer. I wanted something good---Biblical even---so I couldn't understand why the answer was "no." For seventeen long years, I refused to accept God's answer, and I begged and pleaded for a reversal of the "no" to my request. In addition to times of begging, there were times of railing against God in extreme anger. I also made bargains with God, promising that if he gave me what I wanted, I would give him all the praise and even trust him more.

Alas, the answer remained "no."

My request was for another child. I already had two (both of whom I conceived easily), and I desperately longed for two or three more. My dream had always been to have four or five children---preferably five. Having just two children was nowhere in my plan. And yet, without question, that was God's plan for me. My womb was closed, and although it took me seventeen years to come to the place of accepting that, I do now know God's peace in the midst of what we would probably call "unanswered prayer." (Actually, the prayer was answered---the answer was "no.")

How could the answer to my request be “no?”  I mean, the Bible says that children are a blessing.  Over and over, throughout Scripture, we see the pain of infertility being lifted and the woman being miraculously given a child---Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth.  Surely what I was asking for was a good thing?  Surely it was God’s will for me?  Surely I wasn’t asking for something I shouldn’t be?  So, how come the answer was “no?”

I don’t know the answer to that question.  But what I do know with all my heart is that I can trust God to do what is best for me.  Even if he says “no” to my request, He is still good, and I can still trust Him.  It took me a long time---nearly two decades---to learn that.

I’ve come to realize that How we respond to God's "no" is the real measure of our trust in him. We can claim to trust God, but if we think we know better than he does and we rail against him when he doesn't give us what we want, we're not really trusting at all.

Linking to:

Grace & Truth
Purposeful Faith 
Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire


  1. What a thought-provoking post - I'm not always gracious with His 'no' but I'm learning to trust Him regardless. Thank you for sharing.

  2. There you are! I am so gladddddddddddd to see you back blogging. I have missed you!!! As for the word "NO"--bene hearing a lot of that lately in my job hunt. Disparity is a real thing, just saying. I was just telling my husband I just don't think the good Lord wants me to find a job here. I am getting so discouraged. ANYWAYS, not meaning to be a debbie downer. I agree, trusting in the Good Lords timing. My husband said, "Linda, every time YOU tell God what the want, he laughs. Don't you know its on his timing?" My husband has a favorite saying, "Wanna make God laugh? Tell him YOUR plans."

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by my brand-new blog, Linda. It's nice to be back! I love to write, so I couldn't stay away forever---but I still refuse to return to FB. You know, for 25 months (June 2003 to July 2005), my husband was out of work. He did a bit of custodial and construction work just to bring in a bit of money, but he didn't get a job in his white-collar field for 25 months! It was very discouraging, but what helped was remembering that he wasn't being rejected by employers. Rather, God was keeping doors closed, waiting for the right job to become available. And you know what, through the job he got in 2005, it led him to the job he is in now, which he says is the best job he has ever had. So, don't despair---God has a plan for you, and he will open that door at just the right time!!

  3. I needed this so much this morning! God is doing a work in my heart for sure. Right now I He has not told me "yes" or "no" but to "wait"...waiting is so HARD! There have been moments when my attitude has been pretty rotten. Why would He want to me wait for something that is good?! Why can't I just have it now?! Thankfully He has been lovingly releasing my grip on what I desire and is helping me to desire and trust Him first and foremost instead.

    Thank you for sharing this!


    1. Annie, thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad my words spoke to your heart today. Yes, waiting is agonizing. Sometimes it's hard to know if God's answer is a straight-out "no," or if it is "no, for now." Either way, it is so painful to not receive what we want, especially when what we want is good. That's why we have to trust that He is good and knows what is best, right?


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