I Wish I Had Accepted God’s No – By Cindy Tutsch

16-04-10 God said No

It happened many years ago, but I remember it as clearly as yesterday.

I did not receive the desire of my heart, and I pleaded with God for a reversal. For hours I cried, cajoled, and promised in prayer. Indeed, I wept without ceasing. What I did not do was read Scripture with an honest heart to see whether God might have had a reason to say no to my prayer.

Perhaps the Lord wearied of my insistent clamoring for my own way. Perhaps He saw that I was too focused on what I wanted to hear His still small voice of reason. In hindsight, I see Him sadly moving out of the way to allow circumstances to give me what I demanded. Like a stone tossed into a pond, the tragic results of that demand rippled out to negatively impact every aspect of my life.

In the years since that life-altering day, I have learned so much about prayer, about God, and about myself. I’m still studying the “science of prayer.” The following are three things that Jesus has taught me as I’ve sought a relationship with Him in His Word, through prayer and, yes, even through obedience to His will.

  1. If it’s for something that harmonizes with Scripture, don’t hesitate to pray and to pray boldly. “It is part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask” (The Great Controversy, p. 525). God longs to communicate with us, so “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
  2. God knows more than we do. God knows the end from the beginning. God knows whether a choice that seems spiritually benign to us may actually become a tool of Satan to hinder our walk with Him. Therefore, give Him sovereignty. Trust His judgment and allow Him to say no. Unless it’s for your salvation, or the salvation of others, don’t insist God answer your prayers your way. There’s a reason Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
  3. Believe that God can give you a new heart, a clean heart, regardless of your choices that have caused Him pain (Psalm 51:10, Ezekiel 36:26). Have confidence in God as a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God. There is nothing God wants more than to transform you to be like Him. Even when we deviate from His path, He can still turn circumstances for His glory. Jesus can still give fresh life and hope to a heart burdened by sin.

So keep praying! But remember that for our best good, God sometimes must say no.

Cindy Tutsch formerly was associate director for the Ellen G. White Estate. She has retired but now coordinates the Believe His Prophets daily reading program, and speaks and preaches worldwide.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

It’s not easy when God fails to answer our prayers in the way we hope, however Inspiration tells us the following:

“In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” Ministry of Healing, p. 474

In another place we are told:

“When we do not receive the very things we asked for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good—that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” Steps to Christ, p. 96

Let’s seek to trust God, and have faith even when He doesn’t work as quickly as we hope. Let’s also trust Him even when the answer is “No.”

Dear Heavenly Father, You see the end from the beginning. You know better than we what we most need. If we are to persevere in prayer and not give up, help us to have faith. However, if You are trying to tell us that what we are asking is not for our best good, please open our eyes to see and to accept Your will. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Rom. 8:28, Prov. 3:5,6