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Thursday, January 12, 2012

When God says “No”

We can get some real junk on the internet and we do have to watch what we watch and read, but we can also find great wisdom. It’s just a medium, a network, and its value to each person is in how we and our friends use it. Recently I saw a post shared first by Nirmal Patrick, then by Robert Fry. It said God’s “no” is not a rejection, but a redirection. Since I’m always looking for something to write about, I decided to follow up on this bit of wisdom with some thoughts of my own.

We all know God sometimes says “no” to our fervent prayers. People are not healed, and sometimes die. We don’t get the job. We don’t sell the home (or buy the one we wanted). There are all sorts of prayers that are answered by God with a firm and definite “no”. Why would a loving God do something like that?

Really, you already know the answer—because He loves us. God, like any other loving parent, knows that sometimes he must say “no” to our prayers. Our difficulty is that we often don’t recognize this as love. We think if God loved us he would do what we want. But deep down in our hearts we know that isn’t true—especially if we’re parents—sometimes love demands a negative response.

If God says “no” it is only because he knows something we don’t know. If we knew as much about the situation as God knows, or had the wisdom of God, we wouldn’t have asked for it in the first place. If we could see into the future the way God sees we wouldn’t want the kind of future our misinformed prayers would bring.

It all boils down to faith. Do we trust God enough to accept his “no” with as much praise and thanksgiving as we do when He says “yes”? Sometimes faith is not about believing there is a God, as much as it is about trusting in the kind of God he is. He knows everything about you and me—including our futures and he knows what is really best for us. He not only knows us, he cares about our future state. He loves us unconditionally and understanding that we don’t have the foresight and wisdom he has, means he sometimes must forego the joy he would find in always doing what we want—because he knows if we knew all that he knows, we wouldn’t want it either. Faith in God keeps us strong when the trials of life come upon us, as they surely will. The short term answers
we would choose are not always best for life and/or eternity and God always thinks with that kind of view.

So when God says “no” remember his “no” is just as good as his ”yes” and just as much a sign of His unconditional love.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.


Andrea Kleinschmidt said...

I have to think about children that die. Or get sick and don't get healed. This is the hardest thing. Sometimes we pray for healing, when sickness started because we were not obedient to God, meaning not taking care of our temple and so forth. And even when sick kids are born, it could sometimes have been the former lifestyle of the mother, who might have taken drugs and so forth. So when God does not heal the child we blame him for it. Sometimes things just happen and God uses it for a blessing. He seems to be more interested in us being mature than having a perfect live. But he also says in James 1:6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

Rick Blumenberg said...

Andrea, this is a genuine dilemma, but trusting God doesn't mean loving him even if he did a bad thing, it means knowing that if God did it, it must be good because God is good. In as situation like this, we are not doubting, but trusting when we can't understand fully what is happening.
On the other hand, as you stated correctly, sometimes our suffering is a result of our own life mistakes and we have to live with the results of our choices.

Becky Beach said...

In my immaturity, I prayed that my father wouldn't die before my mother. My father & I had a good relationship, but my mother & I didn't. My father died when I was 24 & I was totally devastated. It wasn't until I was almost 40 that I was willing to forgive my mother & tell her I loved her. She died when I was 45. If God hadn't said "no" to my selfish prayer, I wouldn't have known the freedom of forgiveness.

Rick Blumenberg said...

Thanks Becky,
That's a great example of what I'm talking about. God has given us freedom to choose, so we can bring suffering into our lives that we then have to live with. If God had answered your prayer the way you thought was good, you would have missed one of life's greatest blessings. Thanks so much for sharing this.