When God says no

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You know the expression, “want to know how to make God laugh… make a plan”, well that’s what I did. I planned on God answering my prayer favorably and didn’t even consider the alternative. So when His answer to my prayer was a no, I freaked out. After a lot of tears, confusion, and processing, I’m seeing things a little clearer. (Just enough to write down a few things that I am learning). So here it is.

This past season has been hard. Hard on my marriage, my relationships and most of all…my faith. During the last 7 months, my heart has been in a tug-of-war between doubt and trust, truth and lies and between wanting to do what I want to do and submitting to the Lord. It’s been a struggle trying to seek the Lord when His plan is not aligning with mine. Realizing you are not in control is jolting. The fact of the matter is, I’ve been praying for my heart’s desire for years and God said no. It’s been really hard to come to terms with and I’m honestly still processing it.

I’ve always believed with my whole heart that God says no sometimes, but that it’s because He has something better in mind. I’ve discovered that that is a whole lot easier to say when life is peachy. God has said no to my prayers before, but only in little things, like when I was dating someone I shouldn’t be or when I didn’t get a job I applied for, but I never thought God could say no to something so near and dear to my heart. I’ve always given everything to God because I trust Him, but this one thing…this was mine. I thought that I deserved it and that it was okay if God had everything else in my life, except this

As I continued to pray that God would answer my prayer, He began to point out verses about what it means to follow Him:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:33

“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’  To another, he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’  Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:57-62

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

 God never promised an easy life. He never promised we would get everything we wanted, in fact, He asks us to give up everything. He says,”Whoever loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37-38). This hit me hard. It’s not an easy thing to give up everything…everything…. to follow Jesus, but He is worth it, and He did it for me. So if I have to give up my hopes and dreams because they are not in alignment with what God has for me…so be it. 
I also know that sometimes, God answers prayers in His own timing. Just because we pray and pray and pray and then God says no, doesn’t mean it’s a no forever. Sometimes, God needs other things to happen before He says yes. Sometimes that can take a few days, sometimes that can take decades and sometimes, that answer comes when we enter Heaven.

I’m learning that God takes His sweet time to develop us. He is more interested in heart change than anything else.  This often times takes experience, trial, and pain, which doesn’t come or go quickly. Look at Moses; God had him and his people wandering around the desert for 40 years! When God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through, He didn’t lead them straight into the land flowing with milk and honey, even though they were promised that this is where they would be going.  It took time. It took trust. It took faith. And that was by no means easy. They were so fed up with it at times, they were asking God to go back to Egypt to be slaves again! But what did God do, He provided what they needed, brought them through the desert and delivered them unto the promised land…in His timing.

Although this has been really hard for me, I can’t deny that the Lord is working through this. I believe with all my heart that He is working this all out for good and that He can see something that I am not capable of. I am indeed scared to follow His plan for me instead of my own, but I’m trying to let my faith be bigger than my fear. Because when God says no to us, we have the opportunity to say yes to Him.

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