I’m sure we’ve all experienced a big “no” from God when we want something so desperately or believe something was supposed to work out. It stops us in our tracks and can make us doubt God or even lose a little bit of our faith. Now, how do we know God is saying no to our prayers? That’s simple. If you feel like you keep running into a wall or if you try and try a again and it just doesn’t work out. This happens because God has asked you to do or give up something and be obedient before he can make that work out.
When God tells us no, it isn’t to hurt us. Think of it this way, when you tell a young child no, their initial reaction is to protest you and they don’t understand why you’re telling them no in the first place. Think of that as when God tells us no. What is your initial response? Do you protest him and question him or are you understanding? We all have to admit at first we’re flustered with a no, questioning God (not our own actions or selves), and not understanding.
But you know what makes God so good? That he gets down to our level and meets us eye-to-eye and tells us that even though we don’t understand why he’s saying no now, we will one day. He is asking for our trust and obedience. He isn’t going to explain to us so we understand, it’s not our job to question him. He is still a good, good Father even if he tells us no. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us or want good things for us.
We can question and not understand, but all in all, its most likely our own obedience that stands in our way from seeing God’s goodness prevail in our situations. Just like when Job asked God a question, what did God do? He asked Job a question back. Likely God is asking us about our own obedience when he says no. He has so much planned for us and he is willing to give it all to us, but are we willing to give it all to him? Think about that one thing you’re holding on to that you know that God desperately wants you to give to him. That one thing could be what is putting a halt to what you’re asking God for or that situation you desperately need him to move in.
I heard someone say the other day that when we’re not in obedience or giving him that one thing he’s asking for, he can’t use us. He will still love us, but we can’t reach our full potential in Christ until we are fully living our lives for him. What we need to realize is that God will find a way to make his plans work out. So this may sound harsh, but that means he will find someone else to use and continue to move on with his plans without you. Do you really want to miss out on what God is trying to use through you? No, you don’t. His plans are higher and greater than we could ever map out for ourselves.
In Jeremiah 32, it says, “But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing that you commanded them to do.” (Read through Jer. 32) Are you doing exactly what God commands you to do? We cannot distort scripture and God’s word to fit our needs and wants, then question why our lives are in such shambles.
There is a lot that we don’t understand. He will ask you to do hard things and he will bring difficult things your way, but he is worthy of your trust and he loves you. He is still going to meet you where you’re at and say, “I know you don’t understand all that you are facing, but remember that I love you. Just trust me and you will find peace that can be found no other way.”
His “no” to our prayers can be the best thing that happens to us. Even if we don’t like to hear it and want it our way, there’s so much to learn and grow from being told “no” from the Father. Things might temporarily work out trying to do it on our own, but they won’t come into fruition with God and the great things he has planned for us. Seek his understanding and rest in him for the situations and questions.
I’ll end with the cliche saying, “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers” because they truly are.
Read Jeremiah 32 & Isaiah 40 for further study and encouragement.