When God Says No.

I've had a lot of conversations over the past month about how faithful God is, but how difficult the path can seem.

About how heavy our hearts can become under the weight of unanswered desires.

About the beating our faith can take when it seems like the only thing we keep hearing from heaven is an echoing chorus of no's.

Have you been there, friend?  You wanted the job more than anything, but the door slammed in your face.  You really thought this guy was going to be The One, but forever ended earlier than planned.  That house was just perfect, but you couldn't make it work.  The book proposal keeps getting rejected.  The nursery is still empty.  The ministry is still dying.  The bank account is still dry.

It feels like you can't catch a break for the life of you, and the Lord certainly doesn't seem to be handing out favors on your behalf.

I have been there, done that, and bought the whole dang clothing section because a t-shirt just wasn't going to cut it.  (Can I get an amen?)

But as I've wrestled through with others, I have looked back on my own unexpected journey.  Does my life look anything like I thought it would?  Not a chance.  I don't have the husband, babies, career, or home I anticipated having during this season of my life.  There are days when I don't think about it and there are months when it seems like it's the only thing I can think about.

I spent a lot of precious years thinking that I was just biding time until my fits of rage and pouting finally knocked some sense into heaven.  Surely, God would look down on my bitterness and throw me a bone.  I think we are close enough that I can tell you the truth: I was desperate for a pity "yes" straight from the throne.

Thank God I didn't get it.

My word, it has taken a long time to get here.  Don't think that this gratitude has happened overnight.  As I recently told a friend, God and I had to get through quite a few restless nights of, "If You don't do this for me, it feels like everything I know about You is a lie."

And that's it, isn't it?  God is supposed to be good, supposed to be for us.  An occasional no to protect us feels right and fatherly, but a parade of no's feels like straight up rejection.  And that doesn't compute with everything we think we know about a good God.

But as I've looked back over my years of waiting and wanting, of bitterness and hurt, I have seen a particular thread of grace woven through each and every tear-filled moment.

A no from God is always leading to a better yes.

Always, always, A L W A Y S.

And that means my yes?  Y'all, my yes is coming.  And so is yours.

Now please don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying that God is saying yes to your plans or desires.  I don't have the authority or the discernment to determine these things.  However, I am saying that if God is telling you no right now, it is only because His plans are genuinely deeper and more rewarding than we could ever possibly imagine for ourselves.  His plans include a better yes.

I know that sounds impossible.  And if it doesn't sound impossible, it probably seems like it's true for everyone else but you.  I wish we were face to face so I could look you in the eye and you could see that I mean this with every fiber of my faith: it's true for you, too.   

I know it so deeply in my gut that I can't shake it.  I pray that it settles that deeply for you as well.

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