A few weeks ago my husband spoke to our youth group about David’s desire to build the temple. David’s heart was right in wanting to build the Lord’s house. David consulted the prophet Nathan and Nathan also thought this was a good thing to do. And yet we all know that the Lord spoke to Nathan and told him to tell King David the answer was “no.” For various reasons God did not want David to build the temple but told him his son would be the one to do this.
I began thinking and reflecting back on times that God also has said “no” in my life. During my teenage years I dated a boy whom I thought would be ‘the one’. And yet he was caught cheating and the relationship ended….God said “no.” At the time of course this was devastating to me.
I remember at the close of my high school years having a scholarship available for me towards an accounting degree and yet my Dad didn’t think I should pursue further schooling. This was difficult for me to understand but God through my Dad said “no.”
I remember after our first child was born I became pregnant once again. We were very happy and yet one sad day 16 weeks into pregnancy God said “no.” After this child was born I held it in my hands…so tiny and yet so perfectly formed…it was so hard to understand. The next day after as we mourned the loss of this child I called the hospital to ask if it was a boy or girl and was told that they ‘just throw them in the dumpster’ and so it would be impossible to find that information out for me. This almost drove me crazy thinking about it all but again for reasons beyond my understanding God said “no”…we were not to have this child or know the sex of our child.
I remember after years of being able to ‘handle’ everything that crossed my path and being a workaholic trying to run from the realities of pain in my life I had a breakdown. God said “no”….no more will you depend on your own strength…now you must lean on Me for all your strength, for without Me you can do nothing. I have asked the Lord to make me as strong as I was and able the handle the things I used to and have the strength to put in a full day’s work without rest but the answer remains, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
I remember going through temptations like I have never experienced before. Things would ‘pop’ into my mind that actually frightened me. I asked God to remove them but He said “no”…and instead gave me the strength to go through them. I would literally call out to God begging Him help to me until peace and quiet came again and at times would look back to see sin uncovered in my life.
These are some of the major points in my life when God said “no.” And yet in reality God often says “no” in many ways to each one of us every day. And how do you and I respond to these “nos.” Why does God say “no?” Is it because He just wants to make our life seemingly miserable? Is this how David viewed God’s answer? As I reflect back on these and many other times where God has said no I stand amazed at the foolishness of my own wisdom and the profundity of God’s wisdom. Where would I be if I had married the boy “I” thought I should marry? And what about going on to school? One month after that decision was made I met my husband and we were married 1 ½ years later. What would have happened if I disobeyed my father’s wishes and had been bound to 4 years of college? Does that make it wrong for a girl to go on for a degree? No, but in my case I would have been disobeying my father which is wrong.
What would my life be like now if I had not experienced the great weakness that I did? Would I go on thinking that I could handle everything on my own and expect everyone else around me to do the same? Would I go on not having compassion for those in need? I look back with amazement at the Lord’s leading. I never would be the person I am now had I not experienced those trials. I would never have the compassion towards others that I have now. I never would be able to help others in dealing with temptations had I not experienced great temptations myself. Does this mean the path has been or is easy? Much to the contrary, but are we not called to suffer in this life and carry the cross our Master carried? At times it is almost frightening for me to pray that I would be conformed more and more to the image of Christ because the refining pot is not a nice place to be in and yet to look back and see the dross being removed is a blessed thing.
I don’t know the next time that God will say “no” in my life and yet I pray that I would bow down and trust His wisdom and not think that my foolish desires know best and I pray that I may humbly say “yes” to God’s “no’s.”