Sunday, October 12, 2014

When God Says No

If God wanted us to have a baby, we would.  I’ve said this consistently over the last five years.  It’s the general idea-- the deep-seated feeling inside me-- that has driven many of our decisions the last few years.  Our diagnosis of “unexplained” infertility only solidified this belief for me.  It’s not for us to know why, but one day God will explain it.  For now, He has His reasons.

I’ve only recently admitted to myself that I’ve been letting myself believe “one day” would come sooner rather than later.  I could see and accept reasons why God would delay this desire to start our family, but surely he wouldn’t deny it altogether.  I’ve allowed myself to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel that may or may not be just a figment of my imagination.  Some may call it hope, but for me it’s been a means of survival, a reason to keep pressing on.  But as we’ve passed the five-year mark and exhausted the medical options we’re willing to try, that light has begun to flicker.  

It’s been said many times that God answers prayers in three ways: yes, not yet, or no.  We’re quick to praise Him when the answer is “yes” and we don’t mind encouraging one another through the challenges of “not yet.”  But what about when God says no?  It happens, more often than we’d care to admit, but it doesn’t sit too well at the dinner table with friends and family, it doesn’t preach too well from the pulpit, and it doesn’t look very pretty in the dead of night when we’re crying tears that just won’t stop.

Why is it that we struggle so desperately when the answer is “no?”  It goes against human nature to think there are things completely out of our control, desires that may not be fulfilled no matter how good we are, how hard we work, or how much we just plain want it.  We’re afraid to talk about it for fear that other people will judge us the same way we judge ourselves.  Maybe I’m NOT good enoughMaybe I need to try even harderWhat’s wrong with me that I want something so badly that I just can’t have?  So we keep our mouths shut, we keep smiling, we keep pressing on…we keep all these questions, all this torment, inside. 

The truth is hard to see in the dead of night, hard to feel in the midst of so many conflicting emotions that ravage a broken heart, hard to hear when only one word echoes in an exhausted mind: “no.”  But the truth is still there, and the truth is worth talking about.  The truth is God is still God and sometimes we don’t get to choose the path He has laid out for us.  But there is more to that truth—a “no” doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us, doesn’t mean He has forgotten, doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough, doesn’t mean there is no hope.  It simply means “no.”  The rest of it we’ve added ourselves, or in some cases, we’ve let the Devil himself creep in and add his own commentary. 

The only way to shed some light on the darkness of this particular “no” is to change my focus.  The light at the end of the tunnel that I’ve had my eyes laid on for years may very well have been a figment of my imagination, an illusion of a hopeful heart.  But as I blink and watch it fade away, that doesn’t mean I have nowhere else to look.  God’s been right there all along, not shining a light in the distance, but holding a lantern alongside me each step of the way. 

The answer may be no, but He has His reasons.  And not only is He still God, He is still good, even when the answer is no.    

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