What do you do when God says no?
If you are a Christian and have been walking with God, there has to be a time that you can recall when God told you no. It is one of the most unsettling feelings that can leave you questioning everything. We believe that God is sovereign and that he is omnipotent, so there is nothing that is too hard for him to do. We also believe his words in the bible that tell us that we should make all our requests and supplications known to Him. What do we then do when we take our request to God and He says no?
So recently, a friend, fellow writer and hardworking daughter of God passed away suddenly. When our church got the news that she needed prayer, we did what God had told us to do, we prayed, and fasted, and then prayed some more. We believed that the God of all miracles would heal her. We believed that nothing was too hard for God to do. Our prayers were that of faith and full confidence in God and his ability to do the impossible. But she passed away. It felt like our prayers were in vain. It felt like God didn’t hear them. It all just seemed really unfair. In our opinion, this should not have been the outcome.
My only comfort was going back to the book of Job. In chapter 38, God responded to Job’s concerns about why he was under attack. Reading through the chapter is not one of comfort, but one that gives perspective. God asked Job where he was when the earth was being created; if he’d ever commanded the morning since he was born; had he command the rain to fall, among many other questions. The point being made is that our finite mind can’t comprehend the infinite complexities of the universe. It reminded me that even when making requests to God, I need to remember that there is so much that I don’t know. And it’s because of this ‘not knowing’ that it's hard for me to be upset at God when he says no, just for the simple fact that I wasn’t there when he created anything, or when he organized this world. Who am I to make demands with the limited knowledge I have? And even if I make demands, do I have the right to be upset if that was not the solution that God had?
I still don’t understand why God does what he chooses to do, but I know his heart is good. I know that He is still merciful and gracious. Because if we are honest, we are not good and we don’t deserve anything good. We are sinful and the reward for sin is death – but God has forgiven us and reconciled us to Him, so we have life through him. Even after reconciliation, we still sin and turn our backs on God but daily he forgives us. In Psalm 8:4, David was reflecting on God’s creation and afterwards asked “What is man that you are mindful of him?”
The world is so much bigger than our perspective. There is too much for any one man to understand and we have to trust that God’s plans are well done even if we don’t see it that way. John the Baptist, after spending his life to prepare the way for Jesus, asked him if he was the Messiah when he (John) was in prison and about to be beheaded. There are times in our lives when we question why or what God is doing but remember that we won’t always understand but we can trust him. When God says no and we don’t understand, we should trust his heart and his character – he will take care of us.
In memory of Victoria Richards, fellow international writer.
May her work continue to bless others.
Ashea West is a Doctor of Medicine, which she recently completed after studying in Grenada and New York. She is from Manchester, Jamaica and had left her hometown to chase her dreams in the medical field. She is passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities she is given. “I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted”.