“No” - The answer every child dreads to hear from their parents. The answer that usually ignites a temper tantrum from a toddler or an angsty “I hate you, Dad!” from a teen. We adults like to think we’ve matured beyond these immature reactions, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have this attitude sometimes when God over-rides our seemingly perfect plans.
Just as every good parent has to say “no” to their child at times, God has said the same to me many times as well. Many of my dreams didn’t end up working out the way I wanted them to. Whether they’re something trivial like wanting a rockin’ body or more important things like hoping for the salvation of a friend, many of my prayers have been answered with a “no.” For example, after high school when all my friends were going off to college and had big plans for their future, I seemed to be stuck. I ended up taking a gap year and worked about 50 hours a week in a factory. Some people are cut out for factory work, but I most definitely am not and I was miserable. Other examples would be all the guys I either had an unrequited crush on or had to end a relationship with, or how I thought I had found my dream job only to be unexpectedly let go a couple months later.
In my selfish pride, I’ve loathed the struggles our loving and all-powerful God has sent me for my good. I’ve gotten frustrated about seemingly unanswered prayers, closed doors, and dead ends. But when I snap out of my irrational pity-party, I can see how these “No's" have each molded me a little closer to being a woman after God’s own heart. After many pouting sessions and crushed dreams, I’m starting to understand the reality of Romans 8:28.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
God easily could have given me a perfect body after any of the bajillion times I’ve begged for one if He thought it would be best for me. But it wouldn’t be. My struggle with my weight has kept me humble and shown me that I can’t overcome my weaknesses on my own. It has been a blessing in disguise as it has repeatedly protected me from falling into vanity and forced me into developing self-control. My time in that factory I loathed ended up being the closest to God I’ve ever been. While being stuck in my head for 10 hours straight every day with nothing to do but a very repetitive and brainless task, talking to God was the only way I could think to pass the time. All the relationships that didn’t work out the way I wanted them to definitely crushed me at the time, but in hindsight, I’m thankful God knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship because I sure wasn’t ready to admit that.
There are some “no’s” I still don’t understand and maybe never will. But why do I think I need to? Isaiah 55:8-9 comes to mind. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Our God is powerful, loving, and completely trustworthy. He’s proven again and again that his “no’s” are to embolden my character and strengthen my faith. So why do I curse Him for it? How dare I question the One who formed the seas, the sky, and the mountains? How dare I believe that I deserve every single minuscule thing I covet after? How dare I think that I know better than the God who gave me the ability to reason?
I have always “known” that God is all-wise, but what I am learning is how to trust that He actually is. As I look back at how God has blessed me by saying “no” in the past, it strengthens my resolve to trust Him when He says “no” in the future.
Aubri is a 21 year old cosmetology student who currently lives at home with her parents, 3 younger brothers, dog, chickens, and parakeet. She enjoys singing on praise team and spending time with people. She's not sure what her future holds, but is excited to follow God every step of the way.