As a parent, I prefer saying yes to my kids. But saying yes can be tricky sometimes, because frankly, lots of the time saying no is just logistically easier. Sometimes saying yes involves me putting forth effort to make something happen that my kids want to happen. Honestly, it’s easier to say yes if it doesn’t really involve any action from me. My kids have figured this out.
But even if what they want permission to do does require a commitment from me, ultimately, I do prefer to say yes. It makes my kids happy. Most parents want to make their kids happy. Most are willing to expend energy and resources to please their children. I believe that is a God given desire. I believe God likes saying yes to his kids, too.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-9
As a child of God, I love it when he says “Yes”. When I ask, “Father, may I have this, do that, be this, or go there…?” and he says, “Yes!”- I just love him all the more! I feel so close to him and so loved and favored by him.
As a child of God, I can even tolerate when he says, “Not yet” or “Wait, child.” I’m not as excited as I am when he says, “Yes”, but I still feel his favor when I hear those answers, too.
It is when I hear those “No” answers that I struggle. Invariably, I begin to feel less than. Disappointment seeps into my heart.
So I understand when my kids dislike hearing a “No” answer from me. Matthew and I have to remind our kids that there is as much love and favor behind a “No” as there is behind a “Yes”.
Furthermore, “No” is much harder emotionally for us as parents, too. It is never our desire as parents to disappoint our children. As parents, we can see farther down the road than our children can, and we just know that some things they desire to do will not bless them. In those cases, we have to say no.
It’s no different, I can imagine, for God with his children. In reality, I have rarely heard no from God, but there is one specific area of my life that he has continued to say no time and again… For several years now.
I ask again…
In all honesty, it hurts my feelings just a bit. In that regard, I am no different than my own children who have to deal occasionally with my “No”. My no’s wound them a little. They bruise them… until my kids are reminded that I am for them, not against them, even when my answers are no.
When God tells his children “No”, it is not because he isn’t interested in becoming involved, or too busy to be bothered with their requests. His no comes only when it would benefit his children most for his answer to be no.
The options we are pleading for seem optimal in our minds. Our plans can only succeed if they play out the way we see them playing out. We are desperate for his intervention, for his “Yes!”
As mature children of the King, we have to remember that there is just as much favor in a “No” as there is in a “Yes” from him. If we truly know the character of God, then we have to trust in his unwavering love for us.
We can fall for the lie that a “No” from God means there is something wrong with us…
Or we can explore other options.
Sometimes our issues with a no means we are focusing more on the gift than the Giver. God wants the entirety of us, and when we allow something we want to be more important to us than it should, then a yes answer would not really take us where we need to be in our relationship with him.
We have to be committed to a long-term relationship with God that is not dependent on whether or not he gives us everything we ask for. If we are willing to hang with God through the no’s, we will eventually see the whys. Over the long haul, we will see for ourselves why what we had asked for was not going to be all we thought it would be, and why the only loving thing for God to do in that case was to say no.
Are you hurt or frustrated by God’s no right now? I get it. I really do. We just have to remember that there is as much favor in his “No”, as there is in his “Yes”. He is the same loving God no matter what his answer, and if we trust him, and seek to deepen our relationship with him, we will find as much satisfaction in his “No”, as in his “Yes”.