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I must have cried a gazillion tears. Ok. Maybe that is an exaggeration… Sort of. I cried a lot, let’s just say that. It was the ugly, I’m-not-getting-my-way kind of cry, too. I had petitioned my Lord, waited oh-so-patiently and His answer was in: No. I thought the reply unfair. I tried reasoning my way into a yes from the no I was getting. I asked again, was He sure that He got all the information? I knew I was wrong. I knew this was the final verdict and I didn’t like it one bit. So I chose to be miserable – for a time. I wanted to wallow in my perceived injustice. I wanted God to change His mind. I wanted my own way. I had all of these reasons why I was right and God, the Almighty Omniscient Ruler of the Universe, was wrong.
Ya. I know… When I hear it like that I cringe too. But let’s face it: We have all been in this very same position at one point or another. We have all prayerfully presented our issues to God and He has come back with a shoot ‘em down, “No.” The kicker for me isn’t always the fact that I got the no… It is that I want an explanation. I want Him to tell me why the answer is no. Like He owes me an explanation. Really? Wow… Yeah, I would step back from me too… You don’t want to get hit with that kind of lightening!
Getting a “no” is so much easier when I don’t know what it is I want from the situation. When what I am asking for is guidance, a “no” can be clarifying and welcome. It is, after all, a much better answer than “wait.” But when I am asking permission or for something I desire deep in my heart, the “no” is painful. So painful, in fact, that my response is often a spoiled one. No one likes to hear “no” when we ask for something.
So then the question becomes how do I respond to the “no” in a more pleasing manner? I mean, I am sure God us up there rolling His eyes at me when He hears the whining start, so how do I fix that? Seriously… I am asking you. Nothing? Hmmmm…..
Since I can’t actually hear you talking to your computer screen I have prayerfully sought some answers of my own. The first of which I have to admit comes down to the basic issue of trust. Do I trust that God is all that He says He is? Do I trust that He loves me and wants only the very best for me? If I do, then I have to believe that He is saying “no” because it is either bad for me, or He has something much better planned. I may never know why He said no. The “no” may not even be for me, it could be for someone else’s benefit. (There’s a thought that keeps me scratching my head – Do I want to push my “no” to a “yes” when it could hurt another?) Bringing to mind the omniscience of God is the first step to changing my reactions.
In the heat of the moment, remembering that God has my back isn’t easy. Responding in anger, self-riteous indignation, and spoiled tantrum-throwing is much easier than swallowing hard and saying, “Thank you.” That’s right, I need to say thank you to God for answering my prayers. No matter what the answer is, it is an answer. Unlike an A-list movie star, God is always the one answering His mail. He takes time to listen and answer each and every one of His children and while we may not always be in agreement with the response, we should always be grateful we got one. (Think: Elijah and the worshippers of Baal) I find that when I say thank you, I have little energy to be angry. It refocuses my thoughts on what God might be doing for me instead of to me.
Lastly, I am human and there will be times I fail. I will not always get this right. What I can get right is asking God to forgive me, to take me and my desires into His arms and comfort me in my sorrow. Sometimes the “no” is so overwhelming that I cannot help but break down. Sometimes it is so confusing and hard to see how anything could possibly be right again. It is then that I am allowed to crawl right up into the lap of my Abba-Daddy-Father and be sheltered for a bit from the hurt of it all. Like a father disciplining his mortal children, God doesn’t quit loving me because He says “no” – In fact, He may be loving me even more by doing so. He will give me a moment in His presence to regroup, gather up my tears and start over from the beginning: Who is God? and will I say thank you?