I told my husband we really needed to pray about something that would be vital to our current situation. I thought if we prayed about it together, we would get the desired outcome.
Boy was I wrong. The next day we got the exact opposite answer: not once but twice. I’m going to be honest here, I pulled one of his old sweaters that I love out of the closet, threw my hair up in a bun, and curled up in a ball and cried.
I cried for a long time.
You see, faith that things will work out is great – when things work out.
Faith is easy when God says yes to what we want, to what we think is best. But what about when God says no? I’m telling you I prayed so hard, I was on my knees day and night over what we were asking for .
And it didn’t happen.
Lose faith, lose hope?
Kids don’t want to hear ‘no’ from their parents
Now is when I look back over the course of my life and the nos God has given me before. There are some I am inexplicably grateful for. There are some things I wore holes in my jeans praying for, and if God would have given me those things, I would not have met my husband, I would not have my three beautiful children, I might not even be here today.
I am sure you can think of some of your own. I’m certain you have many. We all do, but we don’t talk about them. We talk about the blessings, the provision, the yesses, the good stuff. The “He gave me what I asked for” prayers.
But what about the nos and not nows and not yets? Well, they aren’t as pretty and flashy.
What kid wants to hear their parent say no? None of us do, in any relationship or capacity, we want the yes, we yearn for the yes. The nos can sit in the back seat of our lives, heck they can ride in the trunk.
God’s view is so far beyond our own
There are instances, however, when the nos have saved my life, the nos have given me a much more beautiful life, and in the above example of my children, the nos helped create three little lives I love today even more than life itself. The nos have redirected my life and kept me from burnout and severe stress. There are times when the nos saved me from incredible regret.
So, yes, I cry in my husband’s old sweater because nos are hard. They are a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes they mean we need to come up with a new plan, but more often than not, they mean it’s time to be still and rest. It’s time to stop letting our minds spin out of control over what-ifs and why nots.
We want the best for our kids. God wants the best for us, too.
In these far too worn-out pajama pants, curled up in a ball, like one of my children, I need to remember I am His child and He wants the absolute best for me. Not sort of good, not pretty good, but the greatest good, the best possible outcome. He wants that for me.
I know this because I feel the exact same way about my children. I want to see them grow and thrive. I want the absolute best for them. There will be times I will have to say no, and it will most certainly break me into pieces.
In those moments I will think back to the day I lay crying in my husband’s sweater and pajama pants, and I will remember the nos have a purpose. I will remember the times the nos were a brief pause, a step back, right before something so much better came along.
I will remember I don’t just want good for my children, I want the best. I will remember that just like I want what’s best for them, God wants what’s best for me.
Originally published as “What Happens When God Says No?” on Her View from Home.