When the Answer’s No

I must admit — I like to have my own way. It’s easy to see when it doesn’t happen, especially when I’m at work or in a meeting. My idea doesn’t get accepted, so I just sit quiet and let them do “whatever they want.” What do I care?

I actually care a lot, but I also know my way really isn’t always the best way. Even if I still need some attitude adjustment, I think I have matured somewhat in this area.

What happens though, when something you’ve been praying really hard for doesn’t happen? You think you know God’s will. You prayed, maybe even fasted, but he still slaps a big, fat “no-way-Jose sign” on your heart.

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Western Desert, Egypt

It hurts.

That’s why I’m choosing this as my Focus Friday topic today. I’ve seen more than one person in my life get hit with some pretty big no signs in recent weeks — whether through death of a loved one, illness instead of healing, or rejection in relationship. One friend, who had recently surrendered to overseas missions found out she needed heart surgery, effectively halting her plans.

What do we do with the no’s?

I could insert a very spiritual answer here about rising above and trusting for the future, but I want to be a bit more realistic.

We get upset — and that’s alright. Whether it shows itself in anger, fear, tears, or fight, those initial feelings are natural and alright to release. Let it out. Yell, cry, run, hide. David did. The psalms are full of every one of these emotions when he felt attacked at all sides, defeated by his enemies, hated by his friends, betrayed by those closest to him. That’s why I’m so grateful for a Bible that’s full of honest emotion. God expects it, and he lets us get it all out.

When we pour it out to him.

We need to give ourselves space and give others space to hurt when the answer’s no.

Then we need to take the next step, whatever that looks like, to trusting again in Him. The way I move toward God after grief or hurt will look different from you. There is no one way or right way to get through it. There’s only the knowledge that he’s there in the midst of it all — messy as it is.

And there’s hope. Without a doubt. There’s hope for the days he gives me on this earth, but there’s also hope for eternity, which looks so much better than this ugly place of no.

When you don’t want to lean in, just cry or yell until you can. He’s standing there either way, with an unexpected yes to share.

Grace and Peace


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