How to Respond when God says No
Scripture: "Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." Luke 9:23-24
Have you ever really wanted something, and then had God say no? I had an opportunity I was so excited about, but God said no.
I had been waiting, praying, and working hard for an opportunity like this for years. I kept thinking to myself, "I've been waiting for this for so long," but God said no.
I saw multiple possibilities for how the situation could play out, but I never thought God would ask me to say no, because that was so far from what I wanted.
I never imagined I would be the one who decided to walk away from an opportunity that I had been waiting, praying, and working for for years. And honestly, even as I walked away, I still didn't want to.
God made it clear to me that this was my dream, but it wasn't God's dream for me.
It seems like a small difference, but as I started to picture my life 5, 10, or even 20 years from now, I imagined the implications my disobedience would have if I didn't walk away when God asked me to.
Walking away from something we really want hurts. It feels disappointing and it can feel frustrating. But I also know that I have to believe that the reason behind his "no" is always rooted in love for me, and that means He has something better in store.
It is hard, scary, and honestly really, really frustrating but I want His way. I don't want my way.
So, I walked away from my dream. And I asked God for His dream for me instead.
Jesus asked His disciples to "deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him." When I read it through my own disappointment and frustration, that's a scary verse to me. Following Jesus isn't easy. It's hard. It requires sacrifice, and not just once, but repeated, daily sacrifice.
If I stopped reading there, and if I didn't see God's heart for us throughout scripture, I would honestly not want it. But Jesus' promise is for life and life abundant, and if you ask anyone who has been following Jesus for a while they will tell you how worth it it is to accept His invitation. Not just for the promise of life in heaven, but for our daily life right now.
His way really is better. God's best for you is always better than you think. He really does promise life and life to the full. He gives and He has plans for us that are better than any of our best visions and hopes for the future.
But often, to access those plans of God's for your life, you have to start with a little bit of sacrifice. You might have to say no to your dream and yes to God's dream instead. You might have to move across the country, or maybe even the world.
You might have to move in a direction that's opposing to logic but perfectly sensible in faith.
When God says no, we are invited to believe that we are waiting for an even better "yes" down the road.
And when you do, Jesus will be there every step of the way. Leading and guiding you into the life He has for you that's more full and abundant than any other life you could imagine or plan for on your own.
-Ask God if there is something in your life that you might need to surrender to Him today. What does surrendering this look like?
-What dreams does God have for you?
-Do you believe that sacrifice and surrender lead to abundant life? Why or why not?
Spend time in prayer asking God if there is something you need to surrender or sacrifice this week. Actively pursue surrendering to God this week.
God thank you for always wanting the best for me. Help me to see that you are protecting me from second best when your are directing me to your best for me. Help me to want what you want for me more than anything else, and to walk in willing obedience and surrender this week. Amen.