I was an exhausted young mother with five small children. For several months we had been praying for a small house to purchase. We’d never owned anything and felt it was time to begin to build a little equity. We made a list of things we wanted-a fireplace, view, creek, and we wanted God to provide it by a certain date!
We didn’t really want to be “picky” but instead simply honest with God who knows our desires anyway. The “perfect” house came up–we thought! We made a bid but it was rejected as way too low and a counter offer was out of our range. I was devastated. Our adopted grandfather Alf Stanway and his wife Marjory were visiting us at the time we received the “no.”
A godly Bishop and one of our heroes in the faith Alf turned to me and gently said,
“Susan when God answers a prayer “no” consider it a “love no.” He always answers out of His personal love for us.
Over the years with lots of “nos” I’ve always remember Alf’s words.
6 things have encouraged me in these times of disappointment:
- Release those tears. It’s OK. Being sad is not “un-spiritual.” Jesus himself wept when he received word that Lazarus had died. (And he knew he was going to raise him up!). Feelings are a gift of God.
- Recognize that Jesus understands. Hebrews 2:17-18 and 4:14-16 remind us that he has experienced everything that we have and we will, yet without sin. He gets us. This comforts!
- Regain perspective. We see only in part. Jesus alone has the big picture and He’s about something so much bigger than our one disappointment.
- Realize that delay is not denial. An obvious “no” may one day, at the perfect time become a “yes.” God does what is best, not necessarily what is fast.
- Rest in the fact that God might be protecting us from something that we don’t know about. (The house we wanted was a complete fixer upper and my husband is not a fixer upper. With 5 little people we would have been making a huge mistake.)
- Remember that God is good. He is sovereign. We want “thy will to be done.” He is working while we are waiting.
“For it is God who is at work within you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” Philippians 2:13