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When God Says, "No"
Photo: George Bebawi
Just last week my adult Bible study class started reading a new book about shattered dreams. I was very aware of the implications in my own life. After 12+ years of trying to find my way in a second career path, I had finally been accepted into a group of Christian professionals located in an attractive community. My invitation to join them seemed like a dream come true, except when I read the fine print of my work “agreement.” Further review from a legal consult recommended that I not accept the contract. I would ask for a negotiation, however, I did not expect that to result in my favor. I spent several days feeling sorry for myself and wondering why I didn’t deserve a break in my AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) career path. Again I was asking, “What do you want from me, God?’

So as I led my class in the opening of our study, I was keenly aware of my own life and the precious lives of those around me. We represented abandonment, betrayal, divorces, childhood and partner abuse, disappointment, death, struggling careers, troubled parenting, aging parents, personal health issues, etc. I certainly wasn’t alone in my perception that God often seems to say, “No,” to our dreams, requests and prayers.

One of our members, who knows the meaning of grief, finally commented. “I’ve come to realize that often when God says, ‘No,’ He really means, ‘KNOW.’” We all savored the simple wisdom of her revelation. It will forever change my understanding of God in my life.

Know vs. No

Know vs. No, is perhaps more like a spiritual “Pause” button for my life, a detour, yet sometimes a clear “Stop” sign. “There is something more I want you to understand. Things are not as they appear. I have something better in mind. I want you to take the time to get to Know and trust me,” Jesus might be saying. Of course, I remember, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalms 46:10). Perhaps I have been frantically trying to figure things out on my own. The Bible often uses Knowing as an intensely intimate experience.

Hit Pause and consider these New Testament settings:

Do I speak of what I know? John 3:11.
Do I know the truth? John 8:31, 32.
Do I know my Shepherd’s voice? Or am I following a counterfeit? John 10:4, 14.
Do I need further understanding that nothing good lives in me? Romans 7:18.
Do I need to understand that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him? Romans 8:28.
Am I resolved to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified? 1 Corinthians 2:2.
Do I know that my body is a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit? I Corinthians 6:15,19.
Do I know Christ and the power of His resurrection? Philippians 3:8,10.
Do I know whom I have believed? 2 Timothy 1:12.
Do I know that I have passed from death unto life? Do I know love? John 17:3; 1 John 3:14,16; 5:2.

There is Someone far more important than a “No.” “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

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By Karen Spruill, M.A. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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