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Sometimes God Says No

My entire life, I’ve been involved in a wrestling match with my appetites. Had I grown up in Texas, as a child I probably could have eaten an entire half-gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream in one sitting. But I had loving parents that wouldn’t let me do that. As much as I may have wanted it, eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting wouldn’t have been good for me. Thankfully, I had parents that were wise (and experienced) enough to keep me from giving in to my appetites.

Though I’m older, and hopefully wiser, I still have appetites that wouldn’t be good to indulge. You may be engaged in the same sort of wrestling match. You have a desire, and as much as that thing may look exactly like what you want (and have convinced yourself that you need) you have a loving father, God, who will withhold things from you that He knows won’t be good for you.

That may be a difficult concept for some to embrace – that saying “no,” or “not yet” can actually be a sign of great lovingkindness. It may not feel loving or kind at the moment we’re being denied what we want, but when our desire isn’t good for us, there is no greater love that can be shown but to be told “no!”

It’s good to remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden. At that moment, His human nature didn’t want to go to the cross, and He asked God to take that eventuality out of his life. But then He quickly reminded himself, and everyone who would later read the account of His prayer, that it’s not about what we think is best. Rather, it’s always about what God knows is best.

There may be a time in your past when you asked God for something that He didn’t provide. You may still feel a tinge of hurt or anger at His delay or denial. I hope you will come to the point where you can look back on that thing and see that the thing God gave you instead ended up being so much better. If it’s too soon and you haven’t reached the point where your vision is clear enough to recognize that, just be patient. God loves you enough to withhold things from you that aren’t what’s best for you. He does that because He loves you.

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