When God Says No
"In the day when I cried thou answeredst me" (Psalm 138:3a).
Our family was considered poor while we homeschooled. Living on one income left us with little money, and trips to the grocery store were made only for milk, flour, eggs, and other staples. We baked our own bread and supplemented our food budget with a bountiful garden. Thankfully, we always had something to eat, and my children never went to bed hungry. However, there were times during our homeschooling when I didn't understand why God allowed our financial situation. I longed for the convenience of prepackaged foods and thought, "It's not fair. Other homeschooling families don't have to cook from scratch, and they have so much more time for field trips and fun days."
My frustration continued until I taught my children the inspirational story of Amy Carmichael. Amy was a Christian missionary in India who founded an orphanage for thousands of children who otherwise would have suffered a bleak future. As a child, Amy prayed to have blue eyes instead of brown. When the color never changed, she was desperately disappointed that God hadn't answered her prayer. Amy's mother lovingly explained that "no" was an answer to prayer, too, and years later, Amy discovered the reason for God's answer. To rescue the abused children in India, Amy had to disguise herself as a native. Dyeing her skin with coffee, Amy was able to keep from being recognized as a foreigner because her eyes were brown, not blue. After reading Amy's story to my family, I thought, "Maybe God has a reason for telling me 'no,' too."
As time went on and my children grew into adulthood, I finally understood God's reason for those hours spent cooking in the kitchen. Because our resources were limited, my children had enjoyed a healthy diet of homegrown, homemade food. They were fit and strong, and they had also learned how to be good cooks themselves. What I had considered a detriment to our homeschooling had actually been a huge blessing.
What do you do when God answers your prayers with "no"? Satan will tempt you to pout as you see greener grass on the other side of the fence, but don't believe him. God's perfect plan for your life will only be fulfilled as you learn to follow Him in obedience, including those times when He says, "no." "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Father, thank You for answering prayer. I confess that only You know what's best for my life. Like a child, help me to trust You when You say "no" and realize that it's always for my good. In Jesus' name, Amen.