When God Says No

Whenever we pray for things in life, God always answers. Sometimes we like the answers He gives — other times, maybe not so much. The answer we tend to dread the most is summed up in one simple word: no. What do we do when God says no? Let’s look at some key ideas that will help us to understand how to handle the answers we don’t anticipate.

1. God’s will for your life involves drawing you closer to Him.

The first thing we must remember is that God is not interested in anything that will take us further from Him — whether that thing is a house, a car, money, a job or a mate. Begin by checking your intentions, your motivations, and your heart. Now ask yourself, “Will this thing or person that I’m praying for move me closer to or further from God?”

When it comes to making plans and receiving divine answers, the word of God says:

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. (Psalm 37:4-8, NKJV)

The key to all of this? Don’t worry about having to bring everything to pass yourself: God’s got this. Be excited, open, and submitted to the Lord. Trust His perfect will and His timing. Trust Him and He will bless you! Notice that the verse says “He shall give you the desires of your heart.” This is the part we love to focus on. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that He will give you every little thing you ask for. The first step in all of this is “delight yourself also in the Lord.” When you delight yourself in Him, God will place the right desires in your heart that will be pleasing unto Him and He will answer according to His word. If you are walking with Him in truth and obedience, He will answer you. He will never go against His word.

2. God’s will for your life will always be to lead you into what is good and righteousness.

When you ask things of Him, remember that God’s desire is for you to walk in righteousness. With that in mind, remember that His gifts are both good and perfect.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17, NKJV)

God will not change His mind about what he knows to be good and righteous. Hold the person or thing up against the light of God’s word and be honest with yourself: is it righteous? If that opportunity you are hoping will open up, that mate you are hoping for, or anything else you might be praying about is not righteous (in right standing) then he, she, or it is not from God.

3. When you put Him first, God will unfold everything in your life according to His plan.

Remember those verses from Psalm 37? The idea is to put God first in everything and then sit back and watch Him unfold everything. Another translation (Mama’s version, LOL) says:

Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. (Psalm 37:4-7, MSG)

Basically it says “settle down, relax, open up, and just stick with Jesus.” He will do whatever needs to be done. Sometimes that means that He will tell you no. Sometimes that means that He has to remove you from a situation before it can damage you or before you go too far. If you are real and honest with God, He will guide you, teach you, and speak to you through His word. He will put all of the pieces of your life into place. If you will just let Him, He can even bring about a change of heart in your life if that’s what it will take for Him to work in and through you. What you desire will start to change according to God’s word and God’s will. He knows what is going to make you happy and what will keep you, your family, and your heart safe. Remember: God is not interested in anything that will take you from Him.

4. God answers according to the vision He has for your life.

I love this saying:

God answers prayers in three ways: He says “yes” and gives you what you want. He says “no” and gives you something better. He says “wait” and He gives you the best.

Always remember that you have the ability to see to the corner but God has the ability to see around the corner. Wouldn’t it be wiser to rely on God’s ability to foresee the dangers that are possibly around that corner? Let God be God and He will bless you. The fact that He has withheld something from you is not necessarily a sign that He is punishing you. Unfortunately, when problems come our way, our first response is to think God is punishing us or that we are not worthy to have what we are praying for. We all have desires. Sometimes we feel that we will never get the thing that we are praying for. You have the right to want and to ask for anything, but God has the right to overrule. It’s not that God doesn’t want you to have the desires of your heart. It’s just that He can see farther than we can. He knows the end from the beginning and He can see the results of your request. When it comes down to it, just like any parent, He just knows what’s best for you.

5. God wants our salvation to be a top priority.

Unless He has called you to remain single and set apart, then God may have a partner for you in life. That being said, He also wants you to be saved. Sometimes the person we think will make us happy isn’t right for us because he or she won’t keep us safe — they might draw us away from the grace of God that saved us. I always say “Don’t fall for the personality; wait for the character to show up.”

It’s something I feel comfortable saying because this was me…and if I don’t keep my prayer life where it needs to be, it could very well be me again. There have been people in my life who were so handsome and fun. They told me that they were men of God, claimed to be gentlemen, and promised that they were involved in ministry. They did and said everything to get my attention and win me over. Praise God, right?

Unfortunately, no ma’am (or sir) — it wasn’t the right thing for me. Eventually, “Brother Character” showed up just like he always does. Their true character revealed that they were not everything they said they were. Spiritual weakness weakens the character. My own vision told me that they were wonderful and that they loved God. However, God’s vision was greater than mine: He saw that they did in fact love Him but that spiritually they weren’t as strong as they needed to be. We have to remember that a spiritually healthy relationship will lead you closer to God, whether those relationships are friendly, romantic, familial, or any other kind. We must not ignore the warning signs God sends us along with the warnings of the leaders in your life. It’s not your job to fix, change, heal, or mend a broken man/woman by yourself. It’s your job to pray, listen, get out of God’s way, and obey. Keep your spiritual life where it needs to be and don’t take upon yourself the full responsibility for someone else’s salvation. You handle you. God can handle them.

6. The bottom line: God will always do what is best for you — even if you don’t understand it at the moment.

God does not want to see you hurting, sad, or lonely. He allows tests and trials to come your way. He knows how strong you are and what you can handle. He loves you and He always gives you a way out. Stay in His word and in prayer. All the answers to life are there. God is waiting for the perfect moment to reveal His plan for all things in your life. Be patient, shout, pray, worship, and grow while you wait. If you wait with a thankful heart, keep a praise on your lips, and stay busy for God, you won’t lose. Let God make you whole as you wait on His will. Don’t despise the process; simply rest in the promise.

Sherie Marie Bach

Born in Hollywood, California, Sherie eventually found herself a single mother of two living in Tempe, Arizona. Shortly after she married, her family relocated to Dallas, Texas. Heartache soon hit when her husband chose to leave their marriage and she found herself single once again. After a broken engagement the following year, she was severely broken. But God walked with her through many years of darkness and never let go of her hand. Today she is preparing for her calling and walking strong in her faith, not looking back but looking up! She is currently employed as an Account Manager with CVS Caremark. She has served in various positions that capitalized on her enthusiastic personality and organizational skills in and beyond the medical field. She currently attends Dallas First Church, under the incredible leadership of Rev. Tom Foster, where she serves on the praise team, in choir, and anywhere else she is needed. A servant at heart, today you will catch her spending time with her family, encouraging others, trying to making people laugh and comforting people during their personal storms.

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