Why God say “no” to your prayer
We’ve been stuck in road construction and pray to make our meeting, reservation, or party. To avoid being even later to an event, we’ve even prayed for the upcoming traffic light change in our favor.
Simple prayers. And God didn’t answer them.
We’ve had other prayers, too. Prayers born on our soul that rise slowly yet so completely. Prayers for our loved one’s wellness. Prayers for our careers. Prayers for God to show us the way during a difficult transition or decision.
God doesn’t answer those either.
In time, we forgot the half hour we lost while stuck in road construction. We also lost count of the number of times we’ve prayed with both eyes open (and a bit more weight on the gas pedal than should be) for the traffic light to stay green until we race under it.
But the big prayers. Those earnest ones we’ve sent more than once and always—always—with great conviction and heart, what about those?
You know those prayers. Prayers for someone sick to be healthy. Prayers that will make the sorrow today sunshine tomorrow. Why doesn’t God help us out there?
You may not like my first answer, but sometimes we will never know why God didn’t actualize a prayer for us. Here is the way we see it: because God didn’t answer that prayer something hard became harder, someone sad become sadder.
Sometimes God says “no” to fulfill His greater plan for us. We can be short-sighted; we want our way from our single perspective, but God is always miles and miles ahead of us.
Sometimes God says “no” to teach us. Some lessons learned are so very, very painful. When we think back, however, or as we move forward, we realize they are necessary.
Here’s an example. Our loss helps us help others in their loss. Our pain helps us see the pain in others. In these moments, we realize God wants us to understand it isn’t always about us, our egos, our timelines, our expectations, or our wants.
It’s about God.
And when you’ve hit a brick wall at 90 mph as I have, and your dreams are so crushed you can’t pick up the pieces because they are too sharp, you realize—in time—that the story isn’t over. Your story isn’t over. God isn’t finished. Specifically, God isn’t finished with you. Sometimes the reason God says “no” is so that He can complete the work He started in you.
Like me, maybe you should be weary of pastors who preach that you’ll have it all in this lifetime.
You won’t “have it all” in this lifetime.
What you will have—and this is really awesome—is a God who hears you when you’re not speaking to Him, who holds you when you’re on a ledge, and who loves you when you’re unlovable in the moment.
Christians are not promised a pain-free life. We are promised eternal life.
For now (and I share this from the depths of my sometimes shattered soul), remember your story is not over, even though it has been peppered with God’s ‘no’s.
The “no” you’ve heard allows you to find a “yes” later.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on Wednesday, February 22, 2018.