Tuesday, December 8, 2015

When God says no

Have you ever had a big decision to make? If you have and if you are a Christian, than you know that lots of prayer is an essential.  You also know if the above two things are true that the Lord doesn't always give us this clear answer.You pray fervently that God would show you his will for your life and give you a clear yes or no, but when he does not, it is our job to be obedient to what has already been revealed about God's will for our lives through his Word. Knowing that we should seek first the Kingdom of God, we should take action. "Just Do Something," as Kevin Deyoung's great book on this topic states (a book I highly recommend if you have bid decisions to make!). All the while, we can trust that if we truly give our lives to God, he will establish our plans. (Proverbs 16:3)

Sometimes, however, God is gracious enough to give us a direct answer to our prayers, one that is unmistakably a yes or no. Praise the Lord for this! It is great to receive this confirmation, and our hearts should rejoice in it!

But what if the answer is no?

Here's where it gets hard. Sometimes you pray and pray about a decision, convince yourself that it is the Lord's will for your life. You take that step of faith towards that open door--only to have it shut in front of you. And it doesn't feel good--kind of like stubbing your spiritual toes, if you will allow me to stretch the metaphor. But hold on a second, isn't this the answer to prayer you wanted? Shouldn't we be amazed that God cares enough about us to give us a glimpse of the perfect plan for our lives? Who are we to set up this farce with God that "Lord, I really want to know your answer to this decision, but since I already know what is best for me, your decision has to be yes, okay?"

So how do we learn to rejoice when the answer is no? Simply, I believe, by holding to the promise of God that He really does have a perfect plan for us! When we truly believe this, we can thank God for the closed doors. Thank you, Lord, for saving me from another rabbit trail and guiding me in those good works you have planned for me! (Ephesians 2:10) I don't know how to say it any simpler: trust God, and you can rejoice in all things and under every circumstance (even trials!)! (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, James 1:2)

Yes, this is on my mind because God did just answer no to one of the plans I had made. And yes, it didn't feel worthy of rejoicing in at first, but when I realized that God was gracious enough to give me this answer instead of letting me kick down a barred door, I found joy and thankfulness!

God is good, all the time.