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What to Do When God Says No?

“God knows better than we do, and his ‘no’ is always merciful, even when it hurts.”

For anyone that is experiencing a ‘NO’ from God, your response shouldn’t be, “Why the no God?” ask God “What are you showing me?” By asking God “What” it automatically forces you to pursue Him more earnestly. This is a teachable moment. Here are 3 things you should consider asking when God tells you no.

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What are you seeking of me God?

Sometimes in our season of ‘no’ God is seeking more of your surrender. No one human being truly understands the fullness of God because He is simply too big for us as beings to hold all of who he truly is. Often when God wants your attention or wants to reveal more of himself, He says no. The no shakes up the things in your life that may have put a limit to His faithfulness, potential and power. When God says ‘no’ to something often times it’s to make you available to a greater yes.

What direction do you desire for me God?

Sometimes the path and expectations you’ve created aren’t in alignment with what God desires for you. When your expectations are met with a ‘no’ you may automatically ask God “Why?” Taking a moment to ask God what direction He has for you will stop you from moving impulsively and allow you to move in wisdom. Maybe the ‘no’ you’ve received from God is simply to change your expectation of an outcome. For example, you’re in a job position that is unsettling and your expectation is to move up or be promoted with that company, but God says no. God’s ‘no’ may be because He saw that job as a stepping stone to help you fund your dream. The no was merely to change how you perceived that job and your reason for being there.

What are you about to give me God?

God wants you to realize you haven’t lost anything. ‘No’ doesn’t mean you have failed or lost.  You haven’t lost your investment. Unbeknownst to us, God will give you things just so you can lose them. When God wants to train you or teach you about the matter in which He has called you, He will give you something with the intention for you to lose it. Remember the ‘no’ is a teachable moment and the scripture in Joel is proof.  Joel 2:25 says, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

Who isn’t in favor of God always agreeing with our requests? There are verses that seem to indicate that whatever we ask for in faith that we are going to receive (e.g., Mark 11:24Matthew 21:22). What one should understand is that when someone builds a whole doctrine around a few isolated scriptures, they are setting themselves on a path that may lead to disappointment.

The harsh reality is that God simply says no sometimes. He is looking into our future and sees things that we can’t see. There are many times in the scripture that God did not do as someone asked.  Consider King David who pleaded for the life of his and Bathsheba’s newborn son. Although King David fasted and prayed his son still died. Many can relate to doing everything that some of the scriptures instruct us prior to a time of distress, hardship, tragedy or a troubled period in life but God’s answer was still no.

Trust the Process

Sometimes God’s no’s are there to position and prepare you. They are a test to teach you how to respond. God’s ‘no’ shatters theDisappointed_Young_Man small box that you’ve placed Him in. Often times that ‘no’ although it’s upsetting to hear, may simply mean that what you’d desired, wasn’t a part of His greater plan. In Isaiah 55, God makes a comforting statement to his people, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

When God spoke to Abraham He spoke to His past, present and future. Often times in this life you may want God to just speak to your past. You may ask God, “I just want to understand why this happened?” Desiring to hear God speak to only your present may make you stagnant. One reason you may want to hear God speak to your present is because you want to entertain who you are comfortable being, but not who God has called you to be. The ‘no’ can position you to look at different areas of your life and prepare you for where God is taking you.

Then next time God says no, don’t be impulsive. Ask Him, “What does this mean?”

Dear Lord,
Faithful One, You are my Father and I know that you have a plan for me. Please bind me to Your will and teach me to desire Your heart above all else. Help me to hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess, knowing that You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
In Jesus’ name, amen.


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