Last week, I read a headline about accepting life as it is, especially when it isn’t what you expected. Since then, I’ve found myself thinking back to many things I’ve wanted, and for which I fervently prayed, that never came to be. And my reaction has been “Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for!”
Something I asked for…
I have a memory etched deeply into my mind. I was 11 or 12. I was on my roller skates in the street in front of my parent’s house. And I was in love. It was puppy love, but at the time, I didn’t know the difference.
There was a boy. He was new to my world, popular, and intriguing. I wanted to be his girl.
He was cute. He was my age, but he was already going places. I thought, if he would just choose me to go with him, I’d have it made.
I desperately begged God to let me marry this boy. I was planning my future, right there on my roller skates. I had never prayed harder for anything!
Well, the years went by, and I did not marry that boy. I barely even had a whole conversation with him, and I eventually lost interest. I heard he married after high school graduation, had a couple of kids, and divorced.
God gave me something better…
In college, I met the love of my life! I’ve been married to my guy for over 30 years and I’m still madly in love! Thank God He said “No” my 12-year-old prayer!
There have been other instances where I thought I knew best and asked God to work things out my way. Most times, He has said “No”. In each instance, looking back, I’m so glad He did.
God doesn’t give us everything we ask for…
I was thinking these things and formulating this post, this morning, when my husband came to me with some difficult news. God had said “No” to a prayer we’d been praying. And it hit me like a sucker punch to the gut.
It was something I’d been convinced God was already doing. You could say I had “taken it to the bank”. But now it was final and the answer was “No”.
My husband and I were both deeply disappointed. We dealt with it in our different ways. We each go to Jesus, but my husband relaxes – lies down and closes his eyes. Me? I work my emotions out on the pavement.
My shoes bore the brunt as I cried out to God. There were words I needed to form so I could let them go. God was a patient listener while I ran and worked through the frustration I felt.
Do I really thank God?
As I started back toward my house, I could feel my peace returning. I’ve always been a silver lining person. When I hear bad news, I wrestle with it briefly and then lock onto the good, which God always reveals.
In this case, there were certainly positive angles to God’s decision. I began to thank Him for the provision in them. And then I realized how profound the timing was.
I was about to write a light-hearted “Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for” post, and He had just made it real. He had put me through it and reminded me it isn’t easy in the moment. It can be painfully hard to be told “No”.
In everything give thanks…
Even in my disappointment, there was much to thank God for. Hadn’t He already prepared me for this “No” answer by reminding me of those past requests I’m so glad He denied? Hadn’t I just been ruminating on how He’d delivered even better things than I’d asked for every time?
He had also added depth to this post I was about to write. Maybe someone else is in the throes of disappointment and will be encouraged by this very real and timely example.
God says “No” when He has something better in store. I can’t wait to see what it is in this instance. I’m sure I’ll look back one day and see it clearly.
Bottom line, I believe God’s ways are higher than mine. And my emotions are real. Both can be true, but one has to win. I have decided that, in my life, God always wins. And you know what? I haven’t regretted it even once.
I have decided to follow Jesus;Leslie B. Tucker
No turning back, no turning back.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for! Our desires would lead us into all kinds of trouble. Can you think of examples in your life where you’re eternally grateful for God’s “No” response to your prayer?