Today’s Truth

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

John 14:13

Friend to Friend

A few years ago, I was on my way home from running errands. As I approached our neighborhood, my cell phone rang.

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”

“Hey, baby! I ran some errands and will be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”

“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no —I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”

Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

Don’t say ‘no’? I thought. Really? C’mon girl. I’m the parent. You’re the child. Get a grip.

What I said to her was, “Honey, we are several weeks away from swim season. I’m not sure that today is a good day for all of this. And by the way, you’re free to share your heart with me and to tell me your desires, but you do not get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood now and will see you in a minute.”

Later, as I considered her angle—the way she positioned her request—my heart leapt with conviction. How often do I approach God with a request wrapped up in a demand that He not to tell me no?

Jesus told His disciples that they could ask for anything. He even said that when we ask in His name that what we ask for would be given to us.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

Let’s consider the context here. When Jesus said “You may ask me for anything,” it wasn’t an open invitation for the will of man to reign. It was an invitation for man to participate in the will of God through prayer. It was about us asking for things that will bring glory to God the Father. Asking “in my name” is all about the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven – not the whim of mankind.

Is God obligated to answer our prayers in the way we want Him to? No, He’s not. Does God want you to have a million-dollar home and drive a Hummer? Not sure. Does God want you to be healed of that diagnoses, disease, or physical challenge? Possibly. Is He able? Yes.

I don’t know His exact plan for your life. What I do know is this: God is a good and faithful God. “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast forever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7-8).

When it comes to God’s character, faithfulness doesn’t mean that He will always come through for us in the way we expect. It means He will see His plans through to completion, that He will keep His promises, that He will continue to work in our lives for our ultimate good – not necessarily our immediate happiness.

If we think that God can’t say no to us, then we’ve put ourselves on the throne and not God. Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to do; it is about releasing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). It doesn’t change His mind and He’s not a genie in a bottle whose wish is our command. God is God—and He is faithful, no matter which way He moves.

I really, really, really love my daughter. But just because she asks me for something doesn’t mean that I’m going to grant her request. I love her too much for that. God is our heavenly Father. Our parent. He wants mature, wise children. Not spoiled children. He loves us too much for that.

He even told His own Son “no” in order to accomplish His great purposes. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus was distraught to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Crying out to God, He “knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41-42, ESV).

God said no to Jesus because the request of His Son did not line up with His will. And because God said no, you and I can experience grace, forgiveness, peace, and salvation. In order for God to be glorified in His life, Jesus had to submit to the will of the Father. In order for God to be glorified in our lives, we, too, must submit to the will of the Father—and His will is always what’s best for us because He is faithful.

At times the wounds of life leave us reeling. At times God allows trials and temptations that seem unbearable. Even in those times, God remains the same and He can be trusted. We must choose to trust. And that choice is directly linked with the promise of blessing. Psalm 84:12 says, “O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”

No matter what you pray for or desire, you can trust Him, whether His answer is “No,” or “Yes.”

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Faithful One, You are my Father and I know that you have a plan for me. Please bind me to Your will and teach me to desire Your heart above all else. Help me to hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess, knowing that You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn

In spite of our wandering ways, God remains steadfast. Read and consider the following verse: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). How does this verse encourage you? Have you been praying for the Lord to answer according to His will or according to yours? Let’s take this conversation deeper. Come over to my blog or my Facebook page and leave a comment.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc. Get a copy from your favorite Christian retailer or CLICK HERE to order the book from Amazon.

5 Responses to “What To Do When God Says No”

  1. Cheryl says:

    This was an excellent lesson in the Love of our Father. I loved reading it. Thank you!

  2. Gina says:

    Knowing God is faithful gives me hope because I know with 100% certainty He will keep His promises in His perfect timing, which teaches me patience and trust. God is the perfect parent!

  3. Melissa says:

    This devotional was so encouraging. It reminds me that God knows what’s best for me and I must trust and believe that. Sometimes get so consumed with our own carnal desires that we forget to pray as Jesus did by saying not my will Lord, but yours be done. I have to remember that the heart is deceitful and we are by nature selfish. The Lord’s plans go beyond how we feel and what our flesh desires. He has the kingdom in mind and he wants us to do the same. I would like to point out that it is ALWAYS God’s will to heal. Sickness does not come from God and therefore, His desire is never for anyone to suffer. When Jesus came, He went about healing ALL manner of sickness and disease and NEVER turning anyone away:

    MATTHEW 4:23
    23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

    MATTHEW 8:16
    16 And when the evening came, they brought to him many who were possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all who were sick:

    MATTHEW 9:35
    35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

    Thanks for your wonderful devotionals! God bless!

  4. Christina says:

    Most things God says no to are of various sizes but God said no to me about something big. I was born sick and had many problems but as I grew bigger I still had the dream of being a mother. As a teenager my health got much better and went years into adulthood without many issues and then I met Mr. Right or who I thought of as my Mr. Right so we got married and always dreamed of children then disaster stuck and my health issues came back with a vengeance so still we had a plan for children but the plan fell apart then my marriage fell apart. My health never got much better and then my husband met someone else who could give him the natural child he wanted and the bonus was she wasn’t sick. My husband left me so what do you do when your vision of a family is completely taken away. We divorced while most of my friends who are the same age are married and have at least 1 child. God has finally placed me into heading a mission to help those much less fortunate but I look back on what I imagined my life would be like at this age and it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I still have joy but it still hurts because most devotions or articles about women are about marriage and children and how to survive with them but my question is how to survive and have support when you don’t have them. When I die most will have their family to carry on but will anyone care or even remember me when I pass. I’m not complaining because God has been so good to me and he’s faithful. It’s just I feel so alone and lost..or at least that’s how Satan makes me feel.

    • Nellie says:

      Christina, I can partly relate to what you”re going through. I’ve been married for 15 years and am still childless. We’ve prayed, we’ve believed, proclaimed and still nothing. I know that God is Good and doesnt rejoice in our suffering, but it’s still painful. I pray that God can take away our feelings of emptiness – He is able, that much I know.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8