Points to Ponder/And God Said “No”

by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

When we are troubled, sick, or hurting, we hear the advice of faithful friends telling us to take it to the Lord in prayer. “Pray about it,” they say.

For some of us that sounds a bit too easy. There are times we all can remember when God does not seem to be listening to our pleas. God does not seem to be answering even the prayers which seem to be reasonable and fair requests. Right? Well sometimes that’s because the answer is “No.”

I borrowed this writing from a local church newsletter sometime ago. It makes you think.
And God Said “No”
I asked God to take away my pride and God said, “No.”
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole and God said, “No.”
He said, “Her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.”
I asked God to grant me patience and God said, “No.”
He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation. It isn’t granted, it’s earned.”
I asked God to give me happiness and God said, “No.”
He said he gives blessings, happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain and God said, “No.”
He said, “Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.”
I asked God to make my spirit grow and God said, “No.”
He said that I must grow on my own, but He will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked God if He loved me and God said, “Yes.”
He gave His only Son who died for me, and I will be in Heaven someday because I believe.
I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me and God said,
“Ah, finally you have the idea.”

- “The Whispering Pines”, St. Paul’s UCC, Clear Spring, MD. Author Unknown

God uses our lives for higher purposes than we can imagine. We focus on our losses, our pain, and the diseases which threaten to kill us or someone we love. My prayers often center on the pain of the moment or the frightening idea that someone dear to me is going to die. But God sees the big picture, and somehow manages to weave into it my struggles and weaknesses, my handicaps and my losses. Have you noticed how He’s done that with your life? If not, it may be because He’s not finished yet. Or, you are not looking.

So often our problems can seem like the end of the world. But from God’s perspective, it would be the beginning of something new and good. Every seed must die before it can grow to its full potential. Remember that the One who holds the seed also made the seed. He also is the One who brings forth the harvest.

Some times God says “No,” because there is a greater “Yes” up ahead. Trust Him. Just because you do not understand what is happening right now does not mean it is unredeemable. Much of the redemption you cannot today imagine will be seen and known in the person you are becoming along the way.

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.”(Proverbs 14:26)

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dennis

Pastor Whitmore recently began serving God at his new assignment, The First United Methodist Church in Laurel, MD.