When God says “No”.
This is a dilemma I am attempting to study recently. It’s one I have been confronted with, and one that I must settle in my heart in order for my faith to progress.
I am no different than my children, who, when I say “no”, automatically question my love for them, and my innate goodness. I have been there with God. I’ve prayed, I’ve asked, I’ve petitioned, I’ve expressed faith, and yet, I’ve still been told “no”.
I’ve asked God to save a life of someone I loved, and that individual ended up dying at a very young age, leaving behind a wife and 2 children. I’ve asked God to heal me of my auto-immune disorder that manifests itself as a chronic pain condition, and so far, I am still struggling. I’ve asked God to provide a financial miracle for loved ones, and to this day, they still are burdened.
This interaction with God creates an uprising of doubt and frustration on my end, and in my darkest moments, has caused me to question all I thought I knew. If God says “no”, He must not love me. He must not be all powerful, like He claims. He must not be pure and good, as He states. Or the worst case scenario, is that He simply doesn’t know what He’s doing.
All of those thoughts, I have entertained. I was raised in a Christian home, shouldn’t I know better? I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, didn’t I learn the answer to this in college? I am a pastor’s wife, so doesn’t this faith crisis make me a hypocrite?
To preface my journey, I believe that faith is messy, and it will have it’s ups and downs as long as I’m on this broken earth. I think it’s okay for me to explore my questions, study Scripture and theology, and fight to understand Truth. I will probably never get to the place where my faith is tied neatly with a perfectly pleated bow, and, that’s not my goal. My goal, is to remain faithful to the belief that Jesus is the son of God, and through Him I have a reconciled relationship with God the Father. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to have questions or concerns along the way. So, it’s with this freedom, that I explore the dilemma of “What to do when God says “no”.
To be clear and forthcoming, there have been numerous times where I have asked something of God, and His answer has been a resounding, “YES!”. As an 18 year old in love with a blue-eyed boy who had broken up with me, I pleaded for God to restore that relationship….and He did, and we are celebrating 14 years of marriage this month. At the conception of both of my boys, I pleaded with God for healthy children, and today I enjoy my vibrant boys more than anything in this world. Three years ago, I begged God to spare my dad’s life as he lay on his death bed due to complications from an inoperable brain tumor….and He did, and I enjoy a beautiful relationship with my healthy father to this day.
I’ve been on the receiving end of God’s compliance, but I’ve also experienced the sting of Him withholding answers.
In these next few installments, I am going to address some of what I’ve been thinking, studying, and praying about. I’ve sought Godly advice on the issue, and will be reviewing the insight from several people who are spiritually grounded.
I am so very thankful for a secure God that isn’t threatened by questions, and that affords grace as I journey to a deeper understanding of who He is.