When the Answer Is “No”

When we have come before God in prayer asking fervently, obediently, faithfully, humbly and persistently for something … what are we to do when God says, “No”?

First, we can realize that we are in good company. God has said “No” to many notables in the Bible: David, when he wanted to build the temple; Paul, regarding the thorn in the flesh; and even Jesus when He asked that the cup be taken from Him. If God has said it on occasion to this most illustrious group, then surely we can expect that He is going to be saying it to us at times.

As we look back on the many things that we have prayed about, we may realize that this is already the case – perhaps many times over. What next then? We need to accept it, learn from it, and move on.

Obviously “No” is not the answer we wanted, and it may even be difficult for us to swallow. This is not the time to lack faith or get upset. Understanding that our God is all-knowing and a loving Father, we should realize that He knows and does what is best for us. If God is completely and totally in charge of our life, then we can take solace and comfort in the fact that the right things are going to happen at the right time.

Even though we get a negative as an answer, it is really a positive. God does not capriciously reply to our prayers. When He says “No,” it is for a reason and a purpose. His hope is that a good result will come out of it. We should pray, “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths” (Psalm 25:4). We need to learn from the way that God is working in our life, so that we may continue to grow in the Godly righteous character He is trying to facilitate in us.

When we petition God, it is for His Will to be done in our lives – and now that we can better understand it, all that is left is for us to move on in the direction that God is guiding us in, and not on the route we thought to take.

God sees us and hears us (Psalm 34:15, 17), and His arm is not too short that He cannot save us (Isaiah 59:1). Know this! Keep it in mind! In the end, God’s ultimate goal is to see us make it into His Family, and He will do what it takes to make sure that we are with Him in the end.