When God's 'No' is Best
God's answer to our prayers isn't always 'yes.' Find joy in whatever answer He gives.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
A well-known pastor once said, “If a request is wrong, God says ‘No.’ If the timing is wrong, God says ‘Slow.’ If you are wrong, God says, ‘Grow.’ But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, ‘Go!’ Is there a chance you are expecting an immediate “yes” when what is better for you is one of these other answers?
Read on for two examples of how God’s best was not a “yes!”
The right request, made too early: God says ‘slow’
Several years into my deeply blessed marriage to my sweetie Nancy, we began to pray as a family with our two sons for my Mum, Nang’s, salvation.
After 17 years of prayer, I was reading Revelation 21 when I came across my Mum’s name, “Beryl”, in verse 20, as the eighth stone in the foundation of the New Jerusalem. I clearly sensed the Lord saying right there “Your Mum will be with Me in heaven!”
I was elated! In prayer with my sweetie, I said: “Lord, I praise You for speaking to me through Your Word that my Mum, Beryl, will be with You in heaven. What is keeping You from saving her now?” My sweetie and I paused (it is always good to be quiet and listen when you ask Father a question) and after a minute of quiet, I clearly heard God’s words in my heart: “More prayer!”
I knew it was the Lord, because after all the years and prayers for Mum, that is the very last thing I would have thought of myself. Emotionally, it felt like God was saying “no,” but I wanted to trust the Lord.
God used this temporary “no” to ignite more prayer and reliance on Him. Then after a few more years, God brought my Mum to Jesus at the age of 83! What a victory. Thank you Jesus!
Being mistaken on the location: God says ‘no’
Many years ago, I owned a distribution business that God used mightily to help share His word throughout my city. Over time, I began volunteering an increasing amount of my business time to serve in many different volunteer ministry roles. At the height of my involvement, my precious sweetie and I were both basically working two full-time jobs.
We were majorly stressed out, often working 70 hours a week. Even with the great work that was being done, this couldn’t be what God wanted for our lives! One night, out of a place of total exhaustion, I cried out to God saying: “Lord I cannot take these two full-time jobs any longer! Please show me what You want me to do!” That same night, while in the midst of conversation with my sweetie, I heard the Lord speak quietly but ever so firmly inside my heart:
“My Son, all I want you to do is just be where I’ve got you! Be a husband to your wife and a father to your sons.”
I knew immediately this was God’s direct “no” to moving forward with my volunteer work. I resigned the next day from all my volunteer leadership positions and went to my business partner and asked his forgiveness for a lack of commitment to my sales responsibilities in our company.
- God’s best for me was revealed through His “no”.
- My sweetie and I were given a new peace and more time with each other and our family.
Even after stepping down from ministry roles, my fruitfulness for the Kingdom ratcheted upward in the marketplace amongst customers, vendors and employees!
So my encouragement to you is take some time today to live out Psalm 27:14: “Wait on the Lord, be strong let your heart take courage, wait on the Lord.” See what he will have to say to you, even if it is a “no!”
Pray this week:
Lord, I don’t always understand when you tell me No. Help me to keep praying and trusting you, knowing that you have better plans in mind for me. Amen.
If you have stopped praying for someone or something, keep praying! If you are overloaded and doing too much, stop! Wait on the Lord and see whether He might be giving you a “no” that will bring you His best!