I don’t care if you’re in Ireland or the United States, our modern political climate is no picnic. Anytime a government proposes cutting even obscure parts of the budget, news outlets and social media are engulfed in the flames of uproar. You can’t cut [x]! We need [x]! If you cut [x], you’re against everything we hold dear! Some of this is played up to the advantage of the ratings in the news business I’m sure, but it does underscore a truth about human beings: we don’t like the “no”.
In my own life, there have been times where we’ve had to cut items out of the budget due to lack of funds. More often, items never get into the budget in the first place. We’ve had to say “no” a lot – making choices where we must in order to make sure we can cover the things we must. This is true not only of financial decisions, but also time. As much as we’d love to be involved in every activity that comes our way, there just isn’t time. So our family has had to become very familiar with the “no”.
Still doesn’t mean we like it.
But even when we don’t like the “no”, it’s truly sometimes for the best. How do we know this? Because we get the “no” from God sometimes. Look at Psalm 84: 11, quoted here from the NASB:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
And see James 1:17:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
If God does not withhold good things from His people, and if good and perfect gifts are all from Him, it says a lot about this matter. I can ask God for anything, and He is able and willing to give me good things. But if he withholds something I want from Him, I know that what I wanted was not what is best. But it goes further than that. It’s not just that He withholds what is not best, it’s that He gives what is best in its place. So whatever my circumstance, whatever my condition, whatever “no” I may hear from God, that is the good and perfect gift.
There are times when I want something and God has something else for me. (I don’t have to tell you that when God and I disagree, only One of us is right, and it’s not me!) But will I choose to see it in light of these verses? If I am, then I will phrase that previous sentence in this way:
There are times when I want something and God has something better for me.
Looking at it this way, I will want His “no” more than I want a thousand of my own yeses. I may not like the “no”. But I will say “yes” to God’s “no”, because God’s “no” is actually saying “yes” to what is best.
What “no” has God been giving you lately?