Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day

When God Says No


Do you know, we prayed a specific prayer. And it didn’t happen.

God said No.

It’s not the first time God has answered my prayers with a no.

I’ve heard before that God doesn’t say no. That the answer from God is always yes or not yet. But sometimes the not yets run out. Sometimes death claims a life. Sometimes sickness gets worse, not better. Sometimes you don’t get into a Ph.D. program. Sometimes that monthly reminder that I’m not pregnant shows up even when I’ve prayed it won’t.

So instead of wondering if God says no, I’ve started asking why he does.

From God’s word, we know that he knows what is best for us and that he gives us only good gifts. And we have this:

Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking him!
(Matthew 7:9-11, AMP)

Here’s the thing–sometimes the loving Father knows that when you ask for the serpent what you really need is a fish. And when you ask for a stone, what you really need is bread.

God knows better than I do what is right for me and for my life. It’s hard to surrender that. It’s hard to admit that I’m not the best person to determine what I need–because it seems like I should be. But God, who is outside of time, who declared the end from the beginning, who knows all things: he knows. And he knows when it is best to say no.

I don’t understand. I don’t know if I ever will. But when God says no? I need to trust him. Because he knows what I don’t know. And his ways are not my ways–they are better ways. And because, if I’m honest, I know that it will be better in the end to have what God wants for me than to get exactly what I think I want.

Then Jesus went with them [the disciples] to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death; remain here and watch with me.’ And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.‘” (Matthew 26:36-39)

That cup? It didn’t pass from Jesus. And we praise God it didn’t.

So we trust. And we keep praying. And we include in our prayers, “not my will but yours, Father.” Because we trust. And because he knows better.

And we say thank you. Because even though it seemed better to us that things should go a particular way, we know, from God’s no, that the plan we had in mind was not the right one. And we say thanks that God would protect us from ourselves and from our own desires and instead give us what is best and prepare us for what we need. And we keep on praying.

8 thoughts on “When God Says No

  1. Great blog post. I need to keep remembering that as I often forget. Even if I remember, I still have a nagging feeling about the fact that God could say no to my desire for parenthood–that scares me. It is not about mistrust of God, it has more to do with missing someone you really love and being sad that they are not with you; I feel this way about the child that I want to parent. Perhaps she is not yet born.

    • I’ve also worried that God might decide we shouldn’t have children–for whatever reason. On the one hand, I truly hope this is not his plan for us. But on the other, and deep down, I know that if it is, it’s the best plan for us. And I know that God knows us better. But I’m praying that God will give us direction. And if he should determine that it is not in his plan for us to have children–for whatever reason–I’m praying that he will give us peace about that. I’m praying that our wills will align with His will, not the other way around.

  2. I am so sorry things didn’t work out :/ I was really hoping you would have those two dark lines you so desperately desire. I believe that God only says no to things that are outside of His will for our lives. God’s will IS for us to be healed, restored, and made whole so that we can go forth and do as He commanded, which is to be fruitful and multiply. I don’t believe that He would ever say no to something that He paid such a high price to give through His son Jesus (healing and redemption from the devil). 2 Corinthians 1:20 says that all of God’s promises (which includes healing) are “Yes” in Him and the “amen” (which means ‘so be it’ without wavering or doubting) is spoken by us. Unfortunately, sometimes His “yes” to our prayers isn’t on our time frame. :/ But that’s when we must “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NKJV

    Once again, I am so sorry things didn’t work out. I know how discouraging and disappointing it is. Hugs!!

    • You are always so encouraging. Thank you for that. I do believe God wants healing for us–but I also believe it is possible that we aren’t to be parents. I also think it is possible that he will choose to “heal” through enabling us to have children through IVF or other ART. So maybe this is part of the plan. I don’t know.

      I know that God has revealed to you that you will have a child and given you confidence that he will provide that child outside of modern medicine/technology. And I think that is awesome and amazing and so very glorifying to God. But he hasn’t told us that yet. And I don’t see any reason God wouldn’t or shouldn’t use the technology he enabled man to achieve to help us become pregnant in his timing.

      And honestly, I’m not feeling discouraged today. I’m actually feeling so at peace about what’s next. I don’t know how it is all going to turn out or where God is taking us, but I know he is taking us where he wants us to go. And I know that he is working even the results of living in this fallen world and of sin and of the devil’s mischief for our good. Not that infertility is good, but that he has used it to bless us.

      The simple fact is that God did say no in this instance. And it was a good reminder that he is looking out for my best interest. And I’m glad he loves me enough to tell me no. I’m glad he has not just let me go my own way. I recently heard someone comment that God could have left Job alone–but because he loved Job, he allowed the adversary to test him (http://ow.ly/rxk7x). That could be a whole blog post in itself. So I’ll stop here.

      Thanks again for your encouragement and for your prayers. It means so much to me to know that people are praying for me and that I am praying for them. I am eagerly awaiting the day you announce that Josiah is on his way. And I’m looking forward to where God takes us next.

  3. Ok, well ditto Elisha because she always can preach it!!! The Lord desires a baby for you just as much as you do and I do and we all do for you! I know it will happen, I just don’t know when. Love ya girl!

  4. Praying for you. I don’t know how or what, but I’ll trust God that He knows. Big hug!

  5. Im really sorry you didn’t get the results you wanted. I really admire your strength and faith. Big hug.

  6. While I was praying for you last night, I began weeping. I understand what it feels like once, but it was too much for me to bear to think about you getting that result time after time. I pray that you have comfort, peace and that life brings you joy this holiday season, though you are dealing with some heavy things. I pray God opens doors for you and gives you lots of opportunities.

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