“No” isn’t a word any of us like to hear.
You may have built something up in your mind, have your hopes up….and it can all come crashing down with this one little two-letter word.
Disappointment often accompanies “no.”
As children, we asked our parents if we could go somewhere or do something, all the while thinking to ourselves, “Say yes! Say yes! Say yes!!!”
If they responded with the dreaded, “No, not this time,” we were devastated.
As we grow older, the details may have changed, but for the most part, we still have difficulty swallowing disappointment and the word “no.”
The same holds true for our spiritual lives.
As Christians, we may have something we desire for our lives, and after we spend time seeking and begging God, He responds with a gentle, “No.”
What do we do then?
I can only speak for myself, but I have a harder time hearing, “No,” from God than I ever did my parents.
The stakes are raised, and it’s no longer, “Can my best friend come spend the night?” but
“Should I attend this college?
Should I take this job?
Is there a spouse in your plan for me?
Are you going to give me children?
Will you heal my loved one?”
There are so many questions that we bring to our Heavenly Father, needing His guidance and leadership while we seek to do His will for our lives.
We have our own goals and ideas for how we think our life should be, and many times they don’t line up with God’s plan.
We know what the Bible says: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Knowing this truth is in the Word of God and experiencing it in our own lives are two completely different things.
We get in our minds that our thoughts are God’s thoughts and His will is going to line up with ours.
When reality sets in and we find ourselves hearing a, “No,” from The Lord, how we respond matters.
Are we going to pitch a fit?
Are we going to rebel and decide to do it our way no matter what?
Or are we going to submit to His will, even if it isn’t what we wanted to hear?
When I was trying to decide what to do after graduation and where I should go to college, I had my own ideas and plans.
I was going to go to Georgia Southern University and major in pre-law. I wanted to be a lawyer and eventually, a judge. That was my plan.
As I started making preparations to make my dream a reality, I heard a very distinct, “NO,” from the Lord.
I tried to reason with Him and plead my case, but all I received was another, “NO.”
I admit that I considered doing what I wanted to do anyway, but I knew that would only end in trouble and possibly even devastation. My life could have been ruined by that one decision. I knew it definitely wasn’t worth it to have my own way.
It took a while for God to show me what His plan was, and there was some argument on my side, but when I realized what He wanted for me, the surrender to His will was so sweet. By following His will, I learned what it meant to walk with The Lord, I made true friends, and I met my husband.
Just in case you need a reminder, God’s plan is always right and will work out infinitely better than our plans.
We see an example of a correct response to a, “No,” from God in 2 Samuel 7.
David had it in his heart to build a house for the ark of God and a place for His presence to dwell. After Nathan the prophet told David to go do all that was in his heart to do, God sent a word that night to the prophet. Nathan had to go back and tell King David that God said He wasn’t going to let him build the temple, but he could get the supplies together and make the preparations, and his son would be the one to build it instead.
This was David’s dream. He wanted to do this for his Lord, but because he was a man of war, God told him, “No.”
Instead of getting mad and deciding he just wouldn’t do anything if he couldn’t do what he wanted, David worshipped!
He praised God for allowing him and his family to have a part in building a house for His Lord.
Here’s the amazing thing: because of David’s attitude, over the time it took to gather the materials and make the preparations, David’s dream became Solomon’s dream.
David would never see his dream come to pass in his lifetime, but he was able to die with the knowledge that his son would be the one to fulfill his dream and with the promise that God would never forsake his family. His kingdom and his throne would endure.
You and I might have some dreams that God may not allow to happen in our lifetime, but He may allow the next generation to take up the dream and let them see it come to pass.
My mind immediately went to, “What if God doesn’t give me another generation to take up my dreams?”
Friend, if this is the case, there is another generation in the church who is watching me and you, and they just may be the ones who will let our dreams become theirs and see them fulfilled.
Looking at it in this light, a “No,” from God doesn’t seem like such a devastating thing after all.
Your “No” may just be your children’s “Yes.”
What does it matter who sees the dream come true?
God’s plan for David was bigger than David’s plan for himself, and it took God telling him, “No,” for his dream to unfold in a way David would never have thought possible.
He saw his son take David’s dream on as his own and knew God would use his household to do great things.
Whatever question you may have laid before the Lord, please remember that a, “No,” doesn’t mean the end of the story….
It may just be the beginning.