When the Answer is No
© Mary Elder-Criss
How do you react when something you want very badly is withheld from you? Many times, in the role of a parent, I have had to tell my children “No,” to a specific desire of theirs. Upon weighing the circumstances surrounding the request, I felt it was in their best interests not to grant it. Their initial reaction is usually one of disappointment, sometimes even anger. It usually doesn’t last very long, however, and most of the time when I have declined their requests, it is proven to them that it was the wise answer. They at first grudgingly acknowledge this, but then move into a phase of acceptance and often ask for forgiveness for their attitudes. Pretty soon, we are reunited in peace and love, and I am once more placed into the status of the good mother, instead of the evil one who, in their own words, “Never let us have any fun!”
Aren’t we just like this with God as our Heavenly Father at times? When God’s answer is No to one of our requests, we often react exactly as my children did. We have a spiritual temper tantrum, and become disappointed in Him, and angry that He didn’t let us have what we felt was good for us. We may throw our hands up, and wail over the fact that He never lets us have what we think we should possess. However, when we reach such a state, we have a choice to make, just as my children. We can continue on in this behavior, or we can make the decision to accept that His decision is the correct one.
Recently, my husband and I lived through such a situation, where God said “No,” to a specific prayer. He had applied for a better paying job at a different company, and we had requested prayer that God’s will would be for this job to be made available to him. When the phone call came telling Jerry that they had decided to offer the job to someone else, I was crushed. I could not believe that God had answered No to this request. We are a family of five on one income with a son in college. I homeschool our two girls, the eldest being in the sixth grade, the youngest in the second, as we felt led to raise them in the Lord. This definitely makes it difficult for me to obtain outside employment, and money is often very tight. When this job opportunity arose, I simply knew that God would honor this request, so that the financial burden would ease. After all, we tithe regularly, and contribute faithfully to various ministries, and so many people were praying for this. Surely He would honor that.
How then, did I react when God said No to this request. Ashamedly, I must admit that my initial response was anger. Fury, even. I was, as I stated, absolutely crushed by His refusal to grant this request. I wept, I wailed, I stomped my feet, and pretty much made a child out of myself. I shook my fist and yelled at God...”Why God?” “Why didn’t you make this happen?” “What IS Your problem?”
Me asking God what His problem is. (Insert wide eyed stare here.) Boy, I’m telling you, I was full of it. I made some of my children’s temper tantrums look mild in retrospect.
Once I got over my initial anger, shock, and disappointment in the negative response to this prayer, however, I entered into His presence in prayer. Although not understanding His reasoning behind it, I knew that I had to seek Him out to ask an explanation of it. When I tell my children no regarding one of their requests, sometimes I can explain clearly why that is my answer, sometimes I cannot make them understand. Sometimes it is just gut instinct that causes me to decline their requests. Yet they always want some sort of specific answer. I confess, I did too, with God. I try not to tell my children, “Because I said so”, yet sometimes that is the only response I can give. “Because I am your parent, and I, in this circumstance, know best.” I always try to tell them that with an outward showing of love, so that they will realize I am not doing this to be disagreeable or withholding something from them out of malice. When I approached God with my need for that specific answer, He told me the same thing. “Because I am your Father, and I know best.”
I truly can identify with my children, that this is oftentimes NOT the answer we want to hear. It leaves us frustrated and often makes us feel rebellious, yet just as I try to temper that response with love, so did God. His spirit washed over me in such a way, that I had no doubt of His love towards me and that “Father truly does know best.” It is oftentimes hard for us, with our limited physical vision, to see why God answers no. It is oftentimes hard for my children as well. Although my flesh did not feel like accepting that answer as His final one, without further explanation, I swallowed it down, and grudgingly at first (as my children) accepted that He did indeed have my best interests at heart.
Has it been revealed to me why He said no yet? No, there have been no immediate layoffs at the company my husband applied with to prove that His will was better for us. Has my husband received an outstanding promotion at his current job that will take care of our needs better? Again, I must answer no. There has been no lightning flashes to make me say “AHA!!” “THAT is WHY God said NO to that specific request.” Will there be in the future? I kind of doubt it, but who knows? God does work in mysterious ways, and although I may never truly understand why God answers No to some of our requests, I just have to accept in faith that He is my Father, and as such, that He truly does know best. Perhaps, now that I rethink it in my own limited knowledge, that revelation itself is the reason the answer was No.
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