I am working on praising God through the storms, the drama, and the moods. Oh, the moods.
In fact, part of me wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why my prayers have recently received no as their answer: so that I learn how to praise God in all things.
It’s not that I think God denies us things out of spite or to be mean, but sometimes the answer to our prayers is no because He is God and we are not. He sees the big picture and we definitely do not. Or perhaps He’s saying not yet or wait, something better is coming.
Or perhaps He’s just saying no, like I do with my own children. I don’t need to explain my reasoning to a five and three year-old all the time. Sometimes the answer is simply no, and that’s that.
But why? I ask God, because like my children, sometimes I am incapable of accepting the Lord’s answer on faith. There must be a reason, or explanation, otherwise how can I – we – find meaning? How else can we justify that unsatisfactory answer?
If we knew why God says no, it wouldn’t require much faith. We wouldn’t need to trust that He knows what He’s doing because we’d know why He’s doing it. So perhaps one reason why we receive those unsatisfactory answers is because He wants us to grow in our faith and trust.
Another reason is perhaps because life isn’t all about us. We think by receiving an answer we don’t like that God is denying us. Maybe we received a no because someone else affected by that prayer needed a yes more than we did. Maybe we received a no because it’s not in God’s will for a yes at the moment. Or perhaps we’re praying for God to align with our will when we should pray in accordance to His will?
I don’t really have the answers. What I do know is that I’m tired, worn down, and frankly, a little frustrated.
But I also know that God is good. I know He provides for His children. He doesn’t abandon us. He listens when we pray and encourages us to come before Him. I know that He is just and faithful. I can look back at my life and count the times I have seen His hand at work. I know He is a personal God who wants to be in relationship with us and that He cares about the dumb things we care about just because He knows we care about them. I know that He knows our hearts and our desires and our souls better than anyone on this earth and because of that, I have faith that somehow it’ll work out.
And even if it doesn’t, I can still praise Him for all the things He’s done and I can praise Him knowing that He’s not done yet.
There’s a song by Lindsey Stirling called “Where Do We Go?” and the chorus lyrics are: where do we go / oh / when our prayers are answered / where do we go / oh / when our prayers are answered but the answer is no?
I can’t help but think that we go right back to the Father. I know that’s a very “sunday school” kind of answer, but for me, it’s the only one that satisfies the question. If we don’t go back to the Father then we’re moving away from Him. I don’t want to do that. If He’s the God of the mountain AND the valley, then He’s where I want to be. If it takes receiving a no as an answer to prayer to draw closer to the Father, fine.
Nothing is worth more than His love and goodness.