July 28, 2015 by Chris French
Every time you pray God answers. He either says “yes” “no” or “not yet” to your request. For the purpose of this article we’re going to say “not yet” is the same as “no”, because in reality “yes” and “no” are the two answers that matter when you’re in full panic mode. I think there’s some things we can learn from both of these answers.
When God says “yes” it reminds us of His goodness. We are reminded of the stories in the Bible where God delivered His people in a fantastic, jaw dropping kind of way. We feel the relief Israel must have felt when the walls around Jericho falling down, we step back as Gideon must have and wonder at the power of God. “Yes” reminds us of the kindness and just plain out right hugeness of God. He can do anything He pleases! God can step in and work out events providentially that will make your knees quiver when you look back over the span of time and see how He set it all up. “Yes” reminds us of something we don’t need to forget. Sometimes we are tricked into believing we are in control. “Yes” forces us to reevaluate the scenario and give God the glory.
“No” is also an answer God is fond of and it also reminds us of something important. “No” reminds us that we don’t have the full picture. He does and He is working things out to transform us into the image of His Son (Romans 8.28-29). God absolutely wants you to be happy, but He is far more concerned with you being holy and when your happiness gets in the way of your holiness I’m betting He’s going to deny your request. I believe God also says “no” to some of our requests because He is keeping us from more serious harm. It hurts when we get told “no”, but there could easily be something more painful in our future that happened because He granted our request. “No” reminds us that God is in control and working things out to our benefit. Maybe even more important that the lesson “yes” taught us we must never forget the “no” lesson.
Psalm 34.8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” The tasting and seeing part here implies experience with God. Depending on your experience level with God, how well you know Him, you’ll take “no” (or for that matter “yes”) in a different way than normal people. Remember Job’s take on his situation after everything had been taken away from him? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord” (Job 1.21). That’s the response from a man who had spent a lot of time around God.
At the end of the day I don’t know all reasons God denies my request, but I trust that He is good, even (especially?) if He says “no”…and that is enough.