We have all heard the Michelle Williams song that says “When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”. A motivating song, but what happens when Jesus says no?
When a child asks his parents for a puppy, they don’t think about the time that is needed to walk the dog, the not-so-pleasant task of picking up it’s little “gifts” and the price to pay for the veterinary care and the food. When parents say no, children only see a “no” to their pleasure, and of course they are very angry. But the parents see the overall picture of the situation and make their decision by calculating all the details of this investment.
God is a good father and He desires the best for us, but His plans are not always the same as ours. Our vision is limited to our present, our current desires and talents, but God also sees the future and all the people He can put into our lives to change our circumstances. Some things seem very pleasant at first glance, but over time, we realize that these things are very demanding and rob us of our time, our strengths and our money. It is, therefore, possible that God sometimes answers our prayer with a “no”.
Even when our requests seem very legitimate. “Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9 NASB) Jesus also in the Garden of Gethsemane asked God to avoid suffering. “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26.39 NASB) Of course, Jesus understood that the will of God should always come before ours.
There are prayers that God will always accept to answer. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5.14-15 NASB) His will is for us to be saved, delivered, healthy and prosperous (that we do not miss anything). If we pray his will, we know that we already have the answer: Jesus died on the cross to give us access to these blessings. We will not always receive them the way we think, but God always responds in his own way.
But when it comes to choosing our partner, we have to recognize the voice of God when He answers “no” to our prayer. Sometimes he will tell us why we should not get in a relationship with that person, but sometimes he will not give us the reason: we will only have that feeling deep inside us that we should not continue this relationship. If we are not convinced of the answer, we can ask God to clarify His answer and He will do it by His Word, by a sign or by the advice of a mature Christian. But as soon as we feel the refusal of God, we must immediately retreat, we must not think too much. When we think about it too long, we could convince ourselves not to obey! (Read this other article on this topic.)
When should we persevere in prayer, and when should we stop? Very simple, you can stop praying when you get your answer! But keep in mind that the answer could be positive or negative! If God says no, do not keep asking Him; it’s not the time to persevere, it’s time to obey. It is to our advantage to obey because even if we do not like being refused, we know that God loves us and wants the best for us. If He says no, it is for our good. Move on, always look forward: the best is coming!