When God says NO.....

Sometimes God says "no".  It is true that lots of times He says yes.  And sometimes what seems to be a "no" is really a "not now - just wait".  But sometimes He says no.  And that's hard.

He gave me a "no" answer recently and it made me sad.  I know the right stuff to say and the right way to respond and all the ways I'm supposed to feel.  But I was sad.  As I processed it, I thought about the different ways we can respond when He says no.
I don't know how you respond to His no's.  I'd like to know what you do.  I know there are as many different options as there are people.  But there do seem to be general categories that the bulk of reactions fall into. 

1) The refusal
2) The tantrum
3) The withdrawal

First, there's the refusal.  When God doesn't give us what we ask for, we can refuse to acknowledge His answer and insist on getting our way.  Sometimes He intervenes and saves us from our stubborn heart but many times He lets us go ahead and have our way.  Then we find out we didn't really want what we thought we did.  Things don't turn out so well.

Then there's the tantrum.  We cry and pout and tell God that we can't believe He's treating us like this.  We deserve so much better than what He's giving us.  Often, we pile up evidence of our worthiness by noting all the things we've done for Him.  We shake our puny fists in the face of His majestic throne and demand that He do better by us.  The thought of it makes me shudder.  It's a wonder He doesn't remove our existence with His breath.

I've probably responded in each of these ways but the one I'm most prone to is the withdrawal.  This is not an angry response.  Nor is it indignant.  It's more aloof.  There's acceptance but it's more like resignation.  Sort of, well, OK, God, if this is what You're gonna do, OK.  Then a pulling away.  No angry stomps.  No clenched fists.  But a heavy heart that can quickly harden if the burden isn't lifted.

How does God desire that I respond to His no's?  And how do I train my heart to do so?

I don't know all the right theology to answer but here's what I do know.  He wants me to trust Him.  I do not believe that He expects me to clap and cheer when I don't receive the answer I have asked for.  I believe He welcomes my honesty and that includes admitting when I am disappointed or hurt or sad.  Just like when I tell my children they can't have the "yes" they want.  While I will not condone impudence or overlook a conniption, I encourage my kids to share their hearts with me.  Even in disagreement.  Especially in disappointment. I validate their feelings with my empathy.  So does my Heavenly Father.

So when I am grieved over His answer, He wants me to pour my heart out to Him.  He lets me sit in His lap and tell Him just how upset I am.  I believe He would rather soothe my sobs than have me resist His embrace in stony silence.  Because He cares for me.  My feelings matter to Him. 

And the bad feelings need to be depleted before the right ones can fill me up.

No, He doesn't expect me to clap and cheer His "no" but He does want me to get to the point of acceptance.  Because I trust Him.  Just like with my own children.  I want them to so trust my love for them - and to have enough confidence in my wisdom - that they can accept it when I tell them "no".  Knowing that my reasons have their best in mind.

So much the more when it comes to God. 

Sometimes His reasons become apparent after I embrace His answer.  But there are some reasons I've yet to be shown.  So I must choose to wait...and trust. 

In the waiting, I will cling to what I do know.  That He is always good.  Always loving.  And always at work on my behalf.  His Word tells me so.  And His Word is true-er than my circumstances.

The waiting is hard sometimes.  I want things to make sense.   And I don't want to hurt.  Even worse than my own disappointment is watching my children get "no" answers from God...but that's another post entirely!!  He gently reminds me of what He said to the Apostle Paul -

2 Corinthians 12:9

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

To sum it up, acceptance because of trust is what He desires.  And knowing His heart for me is how I get my heart to that place.  And I can only do that because of His grace.