I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, February 7, 2011

When God Says No

How many times have you told your children "no?" Why? Most likely because you know what's best for them. Your decisions need to have positive impacts for their developments, health, and safety.

God is the same way. He is a loving parent who always answers our prayers--maybe, yes, or no. Man, those no prayers really hurt, especially when it's something we want so badly.

At the beginning of December, the Ponderers made a heartfelt Christmas wish list that ranged from salvation for unsaved loved ones, health issues for loved ones, stronger walks with God, focus for God-directed tasks. Each of these requests has been placed at the feet of Jesus, awaiting those "yes" prayers.

I woke up Christmas morning with my heartfelt wish clamoring in my head. Will my prayer be granted today? The day passed with unwrapping of gifts and laughing with family. As I went to bed, my heart ached, knowing I didn’t get my heart's desire. I whispered, “Why not, Lord?”

In the past month, God has opened many doors. Incredible things are taking place. Prayers have been answered. Despite those celebrations, God has closed several doors too. When I should’ve been soaring from the mountaintop of joy, I spent a week wandering the valley of discouragement.

Even though God said no on numerous occasions in January, and the waiting and wondering left me anxious, He reminded me of His constant provision in unexpected ways. Deep in my heart, I understand he said "no" for a reason. He has a plan and purpose for our lives. How many times have you told your children, "It's for your own good." Imagine God telling that to us.

When God says no to that query letter or manuscript proposal, the rejections sting. Our hearts ache as the doors close on our dreams. We may wallow in self-pity and kick stones in that canyon of discouragement. Take a day to grieve, and then hit your knees and ask God for direction and discernment.

Maybe you’re not ready to submit and need to work more on craft. Maybe the timing isn't right yet. Maybe He has a different agent or editor in mind for your work. Maybe He has something bigger and better in store for your novel. He says no for a reason, and it’s all in His perfect timing.

I promise you--when God says yes, the exhilaration will be greater than words can ever describe. Until then, keep your faith & trust in God. Savor that no, and allow God’s perfect timing to astonish you!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Your turn: When has God said no, but later answered yes? Looking back, can you see the wisdom of His decision? How do you handle no now?

Lisa Jordan

Contest winner: Angela Bell won the iTunes card from Pat Tranium's blog commenting contest last week. Angela, e-mail Pat at ptranium@comcast.net with your contact info!


  1. Good post. I'm always encouraged by the fact that even little children, learning to walk, fall down often in the beginning, but God doesn't focus on that and see it as "failure." It's all forward progress until we learn more stability and forward motion. I'm know this is true spiritually, but I believe it applies professionally with our writing hopes and dreams, too.

  2. Oh, I love this post,Lisa! Hindsight is brilliant, isn't it? I can see so clearly when I look back - the way God was moving and working and paving a way for me. But man, when we're in the midst of it...it's so hard to see with clarity. This is a beautiful reminder.

  3. Thank you, Lisa, for this post. It IS hard to accept God's no sometimes. :) I am learning to remember His sovereignty and goodness. The thing He reminds me of is that in His sovereignty in my life is His love, if that makes sense.

    One season in my life when God said no and later answered with yes was in regard to having children. We tried for years, and nothing ever happened. We prayed, and considered adoption, but my husband and I weren't ready to pursue this at the same time. When God had prepared both of our hearts for that option of becoming parents (and when He'd taught us much more about Himself), He allowed us to adopt two amazing children. His goodness and His timing are always perfect. Thanks for sharing your post!

  4. Awesome reminder, LJ.

    The time I most clearly remember when God said no to me: hockey tryouts.

    I was trying out for this elite league, and my tryout went awesome, I skated the fasted, scored one of the only goals and was POSITIVE I'd be chosen. The day the phone calls went out, no call for Amy. God and I had some words, but he just said no. A week later I was reminded by a piece of junk mail that I needed to snap out of it, God knew what he was doing. Later that day, ONE spot opened up, and I got it.

    God taught me that I don't suceed on my own abilities, but he orchestrates every step of the way.

  5. Awesome post Lisa. Such a great word and so true!

  6. Dee, I work with small children on a daily basis. I'm constantly amazed by their ever-increasing abilities.

    In the early childhood field, we talk about the process over the product. In writing, the process is what gets us to the product.

    I'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who walks along side us each step of the way.

  7. Katie, when we're going through the valley, we're focused on the valley instead of the light spilling over the mountaintops.

    I'm so thankful for the doors of opportunity God is opening for you!!

  8. Jeanne, what a sweet comment. Sometimes we're just not ready for God to say yes in our lives. I'm so glad you were able to have the family you wanted!

  9. Ames, you amaze me. Hockey too? Wow, you're like the all-american girl, aren't you?

    You're so right that we can't succeed on our own talents. We need to fully rely on God to help us obtain the prize.

  10. Thanks, Reebs. My toddlers think no is a great word too because they use it a lot. :)

  11. Lisa, what a fabulous post. It's tough learning to accept "no" and allow God to keep developing a teachable spirit in us. I usually throw a private tantrum-just me and God. The upside to throwing a tantrum to Him is I know He's bottling my tears and I never feel so wonderful as when He quiets me with His love. Even when I'm pitching a fit! BTW...I saw you work with young children. I've spent over a decade in early childhood education! :)

  12. What a blessing this is to read. I think it's important to view the Lord as a loving parent who really does want the best for us. It's just SO hard to be in the flesh and want the things of the flesh and sometimes things we believe will benefit Him and not get them. I can't wait until one day all will be revealed. Right now I have enough.

  13. Lisa, Lisa. How is it that you always know just what to say to encourage me? (Thank you, by the way, for the heartfelt card...it was much needed, and is hanging on my fridge as a reminder that God is in control!) As you know, I was also recently waiting for an answer, and got God's "No" loud and clear just a few weeks ago. I desperately wanted it to be yes, and could not for the life of me figure out why He would say no. Like Katie said, hindsight is brilliant, but sometimes we don't ever get to know why He says no. And that is the really hard part...trusting when there doesn't seem to be a reason.

    My 15 year old son said to me the other day, "I think sometimes you tell me 'no' just because you can." I thought about this for a moment. My no answers are never about control or power; my no answers are always for the reasons you listed in your first paragraph. And if God is perfect, then His answers are never about control or power either. As much as I love my children, God loves His children infinitely more. Thank you for reminding me!! Love you!!

  14. Lisa, I've learned what I thought was a no from God was really just a "not yet". And I've learned sometimes His no is because He has something perfect He wants me to do. Like the time I was writing the novel of my heart and a door opened for me to write an abstinence curriculum. "Now, God?" But He confirmed it so many ways in my heart that I obeyed. And because of it I believe I've changed many teenage lives. And now I'm back writing that novel of my heart. God is good!

  15. Jessica, He holds our tears in the palm of his hand. Amazing, isn't it? I'm so glad you keep your tantrums between you and God. I'm not always so graceful.

    I love meeting other ECE victims...err, friends. :D I love little kids. I do. Most of the time...speaking of tantrums.... :)

  16. T. Anne, your comment is so full of wisdom. God is so loving. I picture him as someone with a constant smile and eyes full of compassion. Just today, my mother heart broke for my son who is going through a tough time. I can only imagine how God feels.

  17. Heidi, I'm so glad my post encouraged you! God sees the bigger picture and knows the best way to answer prayers in order to benefit us. He's amazing. I know God has great things in store for you, friend!!

  18. Pat, I LOVE those God moments when His direction is so brilliantly clear. You may not know it now, but you've planted seeds with your abstinence program. Someday a girl or boy is going to say no because of your class. Now that's a God thing. :D

  19. Commenting late...been sick in bed sleeping most of the day away. But now I'm so glad I'm awake so I could read this post. Just wonderful, Lisa. And I loved this comment from Pat, too: I've learned what I thought was a no from God was really just a "not yet." Oh so true! And it seems to me, that's where trust comes in...whether it's a "no" or "not yet," we can always, always know that God's got our best in mind!

    Okay, back to sleep...

  20. I can attest to the value of God's "no" and how the "no" turned out to be a "wait."
    Five years ago I wrote a proposal for a series of children's picture books and I completed the first book. Editors provided much encouragement but no one purchased it. It was missing that special something, but I didn't know what!
    Fast forward a couple of years. I met a children's author who partnered with me on the project. She added the missing oomph...and we sold the first 2 books in the series at the same writers conference that I sold my adult one-year devotional on the names of God. The devotional released last fall and the children's books released last month.
    I am so grateful that God said "no" five years ago, because the project was just not ready.
    God's "wait" was the best answer for the project, for us, and (I hope & pray) for the thousands of families who will benefit from the Faith Basics for Kids series!

  21. Oh Lisa, you don't know how much your post spoke to my heart. In searching for what God wants me to do, I have questioned every little thing. However, I should know that when God says YES! There is no doubt at all.