What to Do When God Says No

Vertical NoThe other day, Timmy and I had what I think was an actual conversation. Sort of, anyway. It went like this:

Timmy: “Want more snack.”

Me: “Sorry, there isn’t any more.”

Timmy: “Want more snack.”

Me: “It’s all gone.”

Timmy: “Want more snack.”

Me: “You can’t have anymore. It’s. All. Gone.”

Timmy: “Waaaaaaaaaah!”

Seriously, that was how it went. It was like my words just weren’t registering with him, or maybe were irrelevant. Timmy simply kept repeating his request, again and again, despite my having said no the first few times.

Until finally he gave up and had a fit about it.

I was struck by the parallels between Timmy’s approach to me and our approach to God sometimes. God tells us we can’t have something for whatever reason, and we keep pleading for it. We keep begging for something we should know is not good for us because God has already said no.

Sometimes, though, we go beyond what Timmy did—the pleading. We simply decide to take what we want despite the fact God doesn’t mean for us to have it. Or perhaps we keep engaging in it, never mind the truth that God’s Word tells us we shouldn’t.

We simply don’t want to accept God’s “no”.

The response I wanted from Timmy was quite different. I wanted him to accept the fact that I’d said no and stop asking. I wanted him to move on to something else.

It’s the same response God wants from us. When He has said no to something, He wants us to accept His answer, stop asking, and move on.

Yes, we may be disappointed at His “no”. That’s okay. What’s not okay is to keep begging for something or engaging in a particular behavior when He has clearly said “no”.

That person we want to be in a relationship with? If God has said no, it’s time to move on and find someone else.

That way we want to act, but we know it doesn’t please God? Stop acting that way, and act the way He meant for us to.

Those circumstances we want to change, when God has said that for right now, they are what He wants for us? We stop asking Him to change them and start asking Him to change our ability to live with them.

True, when we don’t know God’s answer, we should keep asking. The Bible commands us to do that. But when God has said no, we accept it and move on, knowing that He has something better in store for us—whether that be pleasing circumstances or simply a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.

Are you still stuck asking for what you can’t have? Or are you ready to accept what God wants you to have?

Isaiah 55:8— “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (NIV)

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