Saturday, February 17, 2007

When God Says "No"

No one likes to be told, “No.” In fact, we often feel entitled to an explanation or apology when things don’t go our way.

When I worked for a renowned weight-loss company, which I shall refer to as “Plate Watchers,” one piece of advice I offered members was, “Realize that when you say ‘no’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘yes’ to another. Therefore, you might say ‘no’ to dessert in order to say ‘yes’ to a smaller dress size.” Often that suggestion motivated members, but had I stood in front of my group and said, “You wanna lose weight? Just tell yourself ‘No:’ ‘No, I’m not going to have this entire box of Girl Scout Cookies. No, I’m not going to mega-size my fries. No, I’m not going to have a piece of birthday cake. No, no, no,’” I don’t think I would have lasted long in that position!

As much as we don’t like it, “no,” is good for us sometimes.

Once I yearned for a specific house in a great neighborhood. I could just see my children playing in the yard with friends. But I prayed for God to shut the door on the opportunity if it wasn’t best for us. We didn’t get it, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. A few months later, a man who lived directly across from that house was arrested for molesting children, luring them in by fixing their bicycles, etc. You can bet my vision of my children playing on that street became a shuddering thought, and I thanked God we didn’t move there.

For the last two weeks I’ve ridden an emotional roller coasting waiting for a door to open or close. One outcome would’ve drastically changed my family’s lives, so it occupied most of my waking thoughts and prayers. As it happened, the door swung shut with a thud, and without much explanation. That hurt.

For about an hour, I was really upset. But even in the midst of the turmoil, because I have already offered God my whole life and know that every step is taken under his providential eye, I felt at peace. After the emotional release, my disappointed feelings began catching up to my faith.

I may never know why that door was shut, but I did receive comfort in Psalm 25:12-13, “Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best. He shall live within God’s circle of blessing, and his children shall inherit the earth.” I did not have the opportunity to choose in this situation, but I trust that God chose the best for me. I will not worry about my future, or my children’s futures.

A key verse in my life is Isaiah 30:21: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” There is no golden opportunity in this life that can compare with walking in The Way. And that’s why I’m thanking God for saying “no” this week.


Susan said...

Great, great post Linda. This is an important lesson that started with Eve in the garden...God said "no" and she and Adam decided to "push back" against God's will. And boy do we wrestle with that little word, too.

I love the Isaiah 30 verse...may you hear God's voice directing you as you continue to walk out your faith.


:-) Susan

Penless Thoughts said...

A beautiful, inspiring post:)

Roxanne said...

Oh, Linda. I am sorry that the answer was no, but you will live along into the answer. Your faith that God has chosen what is best is right on. I am, right now, in the middle of three possible job situations, but I told my friend that I am not worried, because I have done all I can regarding where I will teach next year, and the rest is up to God. That is a comforting thought--total peace. Thanks for sharing your story.

Susanne said...

I'm am absolutely in awe of God's hand of protection in that house situation! Praise God!

Living within God's circle of blessing is the place to be! Love your attitude!

Linda said...

I have to say that now I have spoken with the HR staff person, and I feel very comforted by her words. I don't want to repeat them here because that wouldn't be professional, but I know that I did not fail my family personally. There are many reasons for hiring/not hiring people. I hope if someone reads this post and is in this situation, she takes heart in knowing it's not always about you. And I do believe God was in/all over this situation. It is the best for everyone involved, even the prospective employer and my current employer. God is good.

Melanie said...

I have often heard people say, "When God closes one door, He opens a window."
To me that sounds like He is offering us something less than "the door."
The truth is that the door was probably never open for us to begin with. We just hoped that it was. And God never gives us second best. His Plan is always the best for us. Most of the time that "door" (the house or the job) wasn't nearly as wonderful as the opportunity He has in store for us.
He has shown this to me so many times in my own life. Can't wait to see what He has in store for you!

Amy H said...

Oh, how I can understand this post. I have had many moments where I could not understand why a door was closing, but all I could do was say, "OK Lord, not my will but your's be done." A lot easier said than done, of course! In the grand scheme though it has always turned out that God has had my best interest in mind. Imagine that!

Take care,

Carol said...

Excellent post! I am so encouraged to see how He is using this situation to grow you, Linda. Thanks for sharing with us!

samurai said...

Linda - although not directly related - your post hit home with me today. Thank you for posting it, God has used it in my life. :)


Lynda said...

Linda, Your post reminded me of a story about Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. When she was a little girl she once prayed, asking God to turn her brown eyes to blue. Of course she was disappointed the next morning when she looked in the mirror and saw she still had brown eyes. When she asked her mother why God didn't answer her prayer, her mother said, "Isn't no an answer?"

Many years later as a missionary working in India, she wanted to dress as an Indian woman to try to gain entrance into the temple area where children were being abused as temple prostitutes. As she prepared her costume another worker said to her, "It's a good thing you have brown eyes. If your eyes were blue, you would never get inside."

She said she then realized that God has His reasons when he says no, and it might be many years--or not till Heaven--till we know those reasons.

It sure is a growing experience for all of us when we have to deal with the "no" answers.

PS: Love the new look of your blog!