It happens to all of us. As we pray, we echo Jesus words, “Your will be done” and then we find out the answer to our request is clearly “NO”. The promotion we seemed to deserve went to a co-worker. The house we wanted to buy has been sold to another bidder. Our loved one will be made totally well in heaven, but not on earth. There are no reservations available so your plans need to change. Your anticipated appointment has been cancelled. The list is endless, isn’t it? What happens when God clearly says either “No” or “Not Now”. It’s so easy to waddle in disappointment, to question God’s goodness, or to even feel angry. For others, a negative response brings on a sense of neutrality (I didn’t really want it anyway) or guilt (I’m a failure and didn’t deserve it). Are there other options?
There’s a great story in I Chronicles which pictures for you and me an event in the life of King David when God clearly told him “no”. David was so happy because the ark of the covenant had finally been returned to Jerusalem. The people joined him in praising God. Then David had an idea – “Let’s build a special house for the Lord’s presence”. It must have been a big surprise when Nathan, the prophet, came to him the next day with a message directly from God. “No, David, you will not be the one to build the house. Your offspring will be the one.” What did David do? We are told that he “found courage to pray”. He went and sat before Jehovah to acknowledge that He was truly God and would do what He knew was best. He would continue to keep His promises just as He always had in the past. David chose to continue to put His trust in God’s long-term vision and will.
Do you agree with this idea? “God always gives you what you would ask for if you knew what He knows.” (Tim Keller) It just might be a helpful concept to remember the next time you experience “no” in answer to your hope or request.