“O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?” Psalm 80:4
One day in the grocery store, I watched a mother with her two young children wait in the line to check out. As she placed her items on the conveyor belt, the kids grabbed sugary stuff off the shelves, held them up and tried to get her attention. At first, she sternly replied “No. Put it back, now.”
They kept pleading. After a few more minutes she said, “What did I already say?” I asked myself, is that how God reacts to me? Does He set His jaw and ignore my pleas? Sometimes it seems that way.
Then the mom herded her pouting kids in front of her, placing herself between them and the displays. Soon the children’s focus moved to the checker scanning their items. Smart woman.
That’s when it hit me.
Just like those kids, I'd been asking for the wrong things—things I thought I wanted but God knows I don’t need. I refused to hear the answer He’d already given me. I kept picking the same unwholesome stuff off the shelf. Why did I expect the answer to be different? God had already answered, “No.”
Sometimes, because of our stubbornness, God lovingly places barriers to the things we want so we cannot get to them. He may even redirect our attention, just as that wise mom did. He doesn’t do it with a clenched jaw; He does it out of love.
Father God, thank you for loving me enough to say “no” even when I want to hear a “yes.” Forgive me for whining or complaining. Let me instead trust in Your wisdom. Amen.
The next time you sense a “no” from God, accept that as the best thing and let Him redirect you to something better.
*Adapted from Between the Window and the Door, a Bible study of the In-between times.