Occasionally, I receive an email or prayer request from a reader who is walking through heartbreaking circumstances.
They have prayed and prayed, but God hasn’t moved and it seems as if He may allow the unimaginable to happen.
Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now.
You can’t find a job and your savings is down to almost nothing.
Your child is in full-blown rebellion and you don’t know where to turn.
Your marriage is falling apart and you are losing hope.
Your loved one is ill and the doctors are not encouraging.
You desperately want a child and month after month the longing increases.
Your legal battle came out of nowhere and you’re overwhelmed.
Your friend rejected you and is turning others against you.
Your knees are getting raw from the hours you’ve spent crying out to God and you’re starting to wonder if this time the answer to your prayer is “no.”
We all know the typical response of most children to their parent’s “no” is “WHY!”
You and I are no different when it comes to our Heavenly Father. When we don’t like God’s answer, we want to know . . . why?
In all honesty, I’ve asked “why” more often than I care to admit. Almost as much as I’ve worried about the “what if” of each possible “no” answer to my pleas.
What if I never..?
What if they don’t..?
What if I can’t..?
What if I break..?
I am so thankful for God’s patience. He’s not a parent who says, “because I said so” as he walks away. He is the parent who lovingly holds us as we cry big ugly tears and tells me He’s at work even when I don’t understand.
It’s still hard though, isn’t it?
When God promised to work everything for the good of those who love Him, it’s hard when the good isn’t evident.
We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan. Romans 8:28 (NLV)
I believe there are 2 possible answers and 1 absolute truth to God’s good work in our lives.
2 Possible Answers to God’s Good Work in His Child’s Life
- The good is clear and easy to see in my circumstances. I can feel the blessings in my life and the lives of the people around me.
- The good is not clear. I can’t see it, but I trust that God is using my circumstances for His kingdom plans and purposes.
1 Absolute Truth about God’s Good Work in His Child’s Life
- God’s Spirit is always working to bless me spiritually . . . drawing me close as He works in my heart, preparing me for eternal life with the Father, Jesus, and Himself.
Yet, if you’re like me, I always want possible answer #1! I want to see and feel the blessings in my life.
I mean, I’m happy when good things happen to other people but it’s hard when they get the “yes” I’m crying for. And keeping my heart and mind focused on eternity is harder when my today hurts so bad.
The absolute truth is, I’m never alone and Jesus understands. He experienced my pain as He prayed through blood, sweat, and tears…
“Father, if it can be done, take away what must happen to Me.” Luke 22:42
What if Jesus had rejected the Father’s “no?”
Where would we be if He had rejected the pain? If love hadn’t been enough?
But it was!
The rest of verse 42 says…
“Even so, not what I want, but what You want.”
That’s more than enough love! Love for the Father and for you and me.
God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9–10 (NLT)
And with the help of His Spirit within us, we have enough love, too.
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 (NLT)
Enough love even when we don’t get the answer we want.
How to Trust God’s “No” with 3 Powerful Words
I recently bought a bracelet that has one of my favorite quotes imprinted on it.
“As you wish!”
I like the movie The Princess Bride.
I love the quote, “as you wish.”
Throughout the movie, Princess Buttercup repeatedly asked Wesley to do chores some of which are unpleasant and his reply is always the same…
“As you wish.”
Eventually, Buttercup realized that Wesley was really saying, “I love you.”
My favorite quote:
“That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.” And even more amazing was that day she realized she truly loved him back.”
Jesus said, “As you wish” to the Father to save you and me. He said, I love you to the Father and I love you to an undeserving creation.
Look at more of 1 John 4…
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. v. 16
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because He loved us first. v. 18–19
So, I wear my bracelet as a reminder.
And when God’s answer to my prayer is “no.” When I can’t see the good He is doing— with His Spirit’s help, I will trust Him and say…
“As You wish!”
Trusting His love and His promises to hold me close and work for good.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. Romans 5:5 (NLT)
Don’t forget to leave your prayer requests…
and pray over the list left by our friends.
Remember – I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts in the comments below. And if this article blessed or helped you today — would you share it with someone? Maybe a friend, family member, coworker, or through the links below…