When God says no to our requests, the disappointment we feel can be so overwhelming; it’s as if the weight of our emotions crushes the very air that we breathe. I’ve had to learn that even in these situations how God chooses to answer is not indicative of His presence. He’s always there. How we respond, however, is indicative of our faith.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-3). To know God’s love is to experience divine peace in the midst of His no’s. It’s understanding His wisdom far exceeds our own.
When God Says No
If we were to look back and examine every request we’ve put before God, we would find many of them flawed. Yet there are times when we feel as though our requests have been made with the best of intentions. We want our loved ones to be healed. We ask for safe traveling mercies. We pray for our jobs to be spared. We hold onto the promise found in Luke 18:27 that tell us “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” So we pray. We hope. We wait, but God still says no. We feel disappointment, yet it’s in these moments the Holy Spirit tugs on our souls, reminding us that God cannot give us bad. It goes against who He is.
He may, however, choose to not intervene. And as much as that may be frustrating, God does not always grant us the desires of our hearts. His responsibility to us doesn’t permit Him to simply act upon what we want, foregoing what we need. So when I read John 14:14 where Christ states “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it”, I looked deeper for understanding. Christ promised us that we would always have what we needed to further His mission here on Earth. He would always look out for our best interest. This promise was never meant to be a guarantee that with every prayer, the answer would be yes.
Yet the pain of God’s no’s are still felt
In times of doubt, I hold onto the story of Job which stands as a sobering reminder that God is infinite, spanning space and time, creating worlds, and placing the breath of life into our souls. He is beyond our complete comprehension. If we trust God, we must follow. I have wasted so much time in the land of spiritual distraction attempting to understand God’s every decision before fully trusting him. And when my mind is in waiting, there isn’t much room for growing. Each trial contains a lesson, we just have to focus hard enough to find it.
Nevertheless, God is not merciless. In the midst of our disappointment, God gives us a place to lay our frustrations. Don’t pick them back up from the foot of the cross because you feel God hasn’t moved quickly enough. Our desire to be spared from pain or to remedy it ourselves shouldn’t become an idol that blocks us from experiencing God in His fullness.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths from our feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed.Hebrews 12:12-13
In the throes of hurt, ask for the Holy Spirit, and prepare to receive the Comforter. God will send peace, clarity, and wisdom. So when it seems that all else has failed, do not be discouraged. Stop seeking mercy and starting asking for strength.
The Role of Gratitude
It takes divine strength to walk on water instead of sinking in oceans. Only with our eyes focused on God can we learn to stay the course even when we don’t understand it. Only with a spirit of gratitude can we see His benevolent hand working throughout our lives. It’s challenging to find reasons to be thankful and maintain a countenance of peace when we’re angry, but if we do it, our vision becomes spiritually clear. We may not fully understand the why, but we learn to find value in the process of overcoming trials. In the end, we all return to this Earth. How we get there is entirely up to us.
No matter what happens, Christ desires to be the navigator of our ship. The more comfortable we are with Him being in control, the more at peace we can be when the path changes. Life then becomes divinely executed. Our prayers no longer come with any expectation beyond God’s will. The more we accept this, the freer our souls are to experience what life has to offer, without fearing what it will take away.
When we remove life’s distractions to truly see God, we start walking on water. We say each prayer with a more intense faith because we know His no’s don’t mean we start sinking. Instead, it signifies a change in direction to create in us a living testimony of His righteousness. We can’t be scared to lose what is close to us. We can’t be afraid to experience the difficult lessons. Don’t let disappointment be your distraction from God. It’s not worth the sinking.Print This Devotional