There have been times when I have been given a “no” answer from God. For example, when my husband was first feeling that it was time to move from our church in Michigan I asked God, “Can’t we just stay here? Do we have to make the kids change schools?” God’s answer was clear in my heart as well; I knew that He was calling us out. It is not always easy to accept a “no” for an answer, but I know that I have to trust that God knows what is best. Before I was willing to obey, I pleaded with God and had some very heartfelt moments about not wanting to leave. I believe my willingness to obey came easier because I had hashed out my feelings with God and had prayed and I still knew that this was what He wanted. I understood when the time came for my husband’s interview with the church we are currently at that this was what He wanted for us. A year later, I can look and see how this was a good move for my husband and the whole family and I am so glad that we were willing to obey His call to move. I want to look at Jesus’ moments in the Garden of Gethsemane and how He pleaded with God over something much worse than moving. Please turn to Mark 14:32-41.
This moment was difficult for Jesus because He knew what was coming soon; not only was He going to be physically tortured and killed, but He was going to face separation from God. Please look at what Jesus says in verse 36, “’Abba, Father,’ He said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.’” Jesus knew that God could take the pain He was about to face away; He knew that everything is possible with God. He asked. But Jesus knew that God wanted what was about to happen. Jesus knew the answer was “no.” Notice what He prayed next in verse 36b, “Yet not what I will, but what You will.” Jesus was willing to continue following God’s will and purpose even when it was going to be the worse pain He had ever experienced. As I have written about the honest and heartfelt prayer, it is important to remember that it doesn’t mean that I am going to get the answer I want to hear from God. The questions that I have to keep on my heart are, “If God says no, am I willing to accept that answer? Am I willing to obey when it is difficult?”
Getting a “no” answer doesn’t mean that God didn’t hear us; it is because He knows what is best. I am not by any means minimizing the pain that a no can give us at times, but we need to be willing to trust that God truly does know and see more than our human minds can comprehend. I look back and think of some of the things that I requested of God, and I can now see why His answer was no. There are other times that I still don’t know why He said no, but I have to trust that it was the best decision. I think of Paul when he wrote about pleading with God to take away a "thorn in his flesh" in 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; please read that section of scripture. God's answer was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." This was not the answer Paul wanted, but he was willing to accept it.
When God gives you an answer that you do not like, are you willing to accept that He knows what is best?