When God Says No
by PASTOR RON AULBACH
BridgeWay Community Church
As a parent, sometimes you find that “No” is not only the best answer, but also your best friend. There are crazy requests: “No, you can’t jump out of your second-story bedroom window into the kiddy pool!” Sometimes it’s for practical reasons, like “No, you can’t have a cell phone, you’re too young.” Other times the answer saves you: “No, we can’t get a cat. Cats have fleas, they bite, and smell like spoiled milk.” As you can imagine, I’m not popular, but am successful at keeping cats out of our home. I’m a father, and often reminded that I’m far from perfect. But, what do you do when your perfect heavenly Father says “No”?
We don’t like to hear “No.” Whether we are children or adults, our preoccupation is with hearing “Yes.” Yes, you can have a raise and a more comfortable lifestyle. Yes, you can have a dream house and a dream spouse, with dreamy obedient kids. We gasp to think we couldn’t have what we want. Then our dream job ends in corporate downsizing. A lifelong friend walks out. Someone we love dies of cancer. Our prayer requests seem to go unanswered. The “No” can leave us questioning if God is even out there.
One of the greatest heroes of the bible heard “No” but learned the greater “Yes.” The apostle Paul describes a time in his life when he faced a severe physical issue, a proverbial “thorn” in the flesh. Three times he pleaded with God to remove the affliction, and the response was “No.” God actually answered him by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Beyond the “No,” God wanted Paul to rely on a greater strength.
Your faith should not depend on how God answers your prayers. Instead, your faith rests in whether you trust his power in your weakness. When God says “No,” it’s your perfect Father in heaven wanting to use your greatest weakness to display His great strength.