It was months of seeing nothing happening. I was desperately seeking a clear answer for God’s will. But it was in the silence one day that I heard a “no,” that this was not his will. Tears streamed down my cheeks. My hopes and dreams were crushed.
When God says no, it can be hard to stomach. But when we know what he is doing for us (and within us) we can hope again for the future, even in our despair.
He has something different for us that is better than we can imagine. In the process of accepting that, he is teaching us so much.
It took me a while to make peace with the “no” and sometimes the pain and hurt comes back… but I can see the immense ways he has grown me, in the acceptance of it. He is doing this for you, too.
When God Says No to Our Prayers
Does God say no? He does, sometimes.
This is an answer we can expect to get from him because he is a loving Father who has the best for us. This is why God says no. When God says no to a relationship or a new job opportunity, you can know it’s because he loves you. He isn’t withholding from you. And it isn’t because you aren’t capable. It’s because he has something better for you in the future.
God’s heart is always of love for you; this is one of the reasons why God says no. He says yes to things that are his will for you because they are the best for you.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15, NIV)
When you ask him for something, if it’s his will, you will get it. You have to accept that everything that you ask him for will not always be in his will. You just need to trust that what is in his will is the best for you.
What to Do When God Says No?
After you have heard God saying no, you might ask yourself “now what do I do?” It’s important to know God loves you and said no for a good reason. Don’t believe lies about God.
Related: 5 Lies We Believe About God
You need to process your hurt feelings with him—the grief, the loss—and then know how to let go when God says no.
Keep pouring out your heart when hurt feelings come up and surrender them so you can accept what he does have for you next. Seek him for direction, wisdom and guidance. He is faithful and will lead you and let you know.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8, NIV)
He will also tend to your broken heart. Grieve with him and stay close to him. He will show you what is next when you ask him.
When God Says No
In the heartbreak of hearing no from God, God does have lessons he is teaching you—valuable insights he wants to give you. He is growing you to be more like him.
It might feel unfair, seeing others get what you want, and you might never understand why God said no. But you can trust he has the best for you. Below are 3 things that you can learn when God says no.
1. Being Thankful to God
Sometimes we are not always thankful for what we have. We can focus on wanting more or what we don’t have. When God says no, you can learn to be thankful for what you do have.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30, NIV)
God always wants you to be thankful, no matter what. He has given you so much but maybe you really weren’t focusing on that. Thus, this is an intentional time to reflect on what you have been given and be thankful for it.
When you reflect on everything God has given you with gratitude, you realize just how much you have. You don’t need to think “I can only be happy if I had that.” When God says no, you can choose to be thankful for what he has given you.
God always wants us to be thankful and this can really be a time where he is growing our hearts to be grateful to him for all things.
Related: Being Thankful to God in Hard Times
2. God Has Something Better for You
When God says no, you can learn that he has something better for you—even if what you were praying for was good.
This is a time when he grows your faith and trust in him as you wait. God knows it all and knows what is best for you. He sees the bigger picture, so you can trust he said no because what he has in store is better.
He has gone before you (Deuteronomy 31:6) and knows what will be better for you in the long run. He really does have better plans for you, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.
Whatever he has for you, he needs to prepare you for it.
“Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV)
If you want his will, he will say no at times to the things that are not his will. As he brings you to do his will he will prune you for the great things he has for you. This looks like refining you and growing you to be more like him: learning to deny yourself, trust him more, have more faith, etc.
When you see what he has for you, you will truly know what a great Father he is.
3. God Is With You, Always
In hard times you can question God and feel like he is absent when you need him the most. It’s in the really hard and trying times that you learn that he is always with you. In the grief and the loss, he is with you.
You can really experience this truth when God says no, because it is a really difficult time. In the loss of what you wanted he will comfort your heart and make it ok.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, NIV)
He wants you to learn that when times are good and bad he is with you, right by your side, grieving with you and weeping with you. You can learn this is true when God says no and it will draw you closer to him. You will know he truly is a good Father who will never leave your side, no matter what you are going through.
When God says no you can take comfort in the fact that he is teaching you so much. It’s a time for great growth in him. He loves you and is teaching you to be thankful for what you do have, that he has something better for you, and that he is always with you.
As he teaches you these things he grows you within them. It’s in the hardest times he grows you the most and you can be thankful for that. Keep pressing into him for what is next and know it’s better than what you wanted.