Is "No" an Answer?

Whenever I tell my kids “no”, they somehow think that I haven’t answered them. So they will do one of two things: 1) they will continually ask me until the get an answer, or 2) they will go and ask their mom instead. Why do they do this? Is it because “no” isn’t really an answer? Or is there something else to this? More importantly, why do we treat God the same way?

One of the things that for the last couple of years has really bothered me, besides our over use of the word “awesome”, is Christ-followers saying that God answered someone’s prayer after years of prayer. Wasn’t He answering it all along? Or do we feel that we finally got an answer, because we got our own desired result?

I have several friends who have been praying for years to have children and after several years of prayer they were able to conceive. And all along God was answering their prayer. He was saying, “not now, later”. And with my brother-in-law and his wife, it has been “no, I want you to adopt” at this point. And both of them got answers. But somehow we don’t see it that, or at least that is what we communicate to people when we say, “God has finally answered our prayers.”

So let’s stop saying that and start realizing that God telling us, “no” and “wait”, is indeed an answer to our prayers! I have been waiting for almost 12 years now, since I graduated from Elim Bible Institute, for God to put me into full-time student ministry. And I have been receiving the answer of “wait” and it may even be “no”. While it is not easy, I accept that as His answer to my prayers.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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