When God Says No

As I write this, we are in the process of breaking Talitha of her pacifier. We’re taking one baby step at a time: right now we’re trying to limit it to just during the night or nap times. We’ve been making a game out of throwing it back into her bed after her nap and, many times, she is  a willing participant in our little game.

However, as the day progresses, she often casually wanders back into her room and looks and points quite longingly and excitedly at the pacifier lying there in her bed, lost among all the blankets.

I’m not sure what exactly goes through her mind, but it must be something along the lines of “Oh, I just wish I could have that. Mommy, look! There it is! I can see it! Do you see it? It would be so nice if I could just have it! Please, oh please!”

The longer she looks at it, the more desperate she becomes.

Sometimes she even throws a fit about it.

“Oh, Mommy, please? I really, really want it.”

We laugh at this description because we can see the big picture and know that it is for her own good: nobody wants to see a high-schooler running around with a pacifier in her mouth.

But Talitha can’t see the long-term plan. All she knows is that she wants it and she wants it now. She doesn’t understand that she’s growing up and becoming a big girl. She doesn’t understand that growing up means she doesn’t need a silly pacifier–that is for babies.

But ten years from now, she will understand that she no longer needs it, for she then she will be able to see and understand the bigger picture.

But oh, “it would be so nice to have it right now!”

As this scenario plays out multiple times a day, I am reminded how sometimes I act the same way.

I may be seeking a “yes” from the Lord concerning a particular desire of my heart or a prayer request.

But maybe He has already answered: maybe that answer is “no.”

Accepting such an answer can be hard, because, from my perspective, “yes” would be so nice: it looks so desirable and good. Just like Talitha and her pacifier, it is hard to see how or why there is anything wrong with it.

And so, like Talitha, I go back to longingly “looking at the pacifier” in hopes that eventually there will be a more favorable answer to my request.

It is easy to ask the question, “Why can’t God just answer with a ‘yes’?”

However, because He is God, He doesn’t have to explain Himself. And because He is God, He knows the full picture, for He can see it.

In fact, He is the One who planned the picture and has designed it with my good in mind. Romans 8:28-30 reminds me that the good in store is ultimately my conformity to the image of His dear Son.

So when He says “no” to my desires and prayers, can I accept that?

Can I find joy in my current circumstances or have I placed the fulfillment of my desires as my source of joy?

Can I trust Him to do as He has said and to act according to His goodness?

Can my soul find rest in Him, knowing that He has promised that all that He does is for my good, as He transforms me into the glorious image of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ?”

(This post originally appeared on Angie’s personal blog, In the Meantime.)