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When God Says No

I have two children whom I love dearly. I would do almost anything for them. I know in my heart that if needed I would lay my life on the line to protect them.  Yet over the years, there have been numerous times that I have said no to their requests.

In most of those cases, they were asking for something that I knew was ultimately not good for them.  Sometimes it broke my heart to say no to them. But as their father, I knew what was best for them in the larger scheme of things.

We have a phrase for children who are given everything that they ask for–spoiled brats.

You’ve met them, I know.  They are obnoxious and arrogant, and not grateful for anything because they had everything handed to them on a silver platter.

I’m sure that you also know some of the adult manifestations of that kind of irresponsible parenting.  Those obnoxious and arrogant children became obnoxious and arrogant adults who expected the world to continue to cater to their every whim just like Mommy and Daddy did.

So it is with God.  God knows our needs, and He also sees the “big picture” that you and I cannot see from our limited finite human perspective.  Just as we know when to say no to our children whom we love, God knows when to say no to us.

Now I realize there is a school of thought in the Body of Christ today that holds to the opinion that when we pray in faith, that God always answers in the affirmative.  Some of those who hold to this belief are good friends of mine. Some of them are people who I greatly respect.  But I respectfully differ with them in this area.

Looking back on my life, I can tell you time after time after time when I earnestly prayed for a certain outcome that now, with the blessing of hindsight I realize was not best for me.  There was a ministry position that I was absolutely convinced God was leading me to.  When God closed that door–actually “slammed” would be a better description–I was heartbroken and dejected.  Months later I found out that the position I thought was so ideal was actually a horrible situation where there was serious sin in the camp.  Had God given me what I begged Him for in that instance, I would have been in the middle of a colossal mess.

I am certain that if you reflect back on your life, you can relate similar circumstances in your life. Maybe it was a boyfriend or girlfriend that you just knew they were “The One” but after God closed that door you realized in hindsight they weren’t. Maybe it was a house or some other material possession that you asked God for and after He said no you realized that once again He knew best.

We once just knew that God had led us to a certain house.  We even walked around it and prayed, thanking God for leading us to this house and laying claim to it in the spiritual realm.  Two days later the house got sold out from under us.  Again, we were dejected and felt like God ignored us.  He didn’t ignore us.  He just said no.  Just three months later God clearly opened the door for us to follow Him in obedience to another area of ministry in another state.  If we had bought the house we had our hearts set on, we would have been entangled in that and it would have been difficult to go where God was sending us.  God knew that, so He said no.

I believe that every word of the Bible is there for a reason. I am convinced that God gave us the glimpse into the heart of Jesus as He prayed in the Garden as a model prayer for us.  Basically, Jesus told His Father, “Here’s what I want, but more than that, I want what You want. I want Your will to be done.”

There have been many times in my life that God answered our prayers in an unmistakable way.  I am so thankful for those times, for they have strengthened my faith.  But I am equally thankful for the times when God said no.

Because my Father knows best.

by Alan Riley


  1. Christina Adeleke

    Thank you that was awesome! There was this position I had applied for to transfer @ my job, I was very sure that I was going to get it but another employee from a different department went and override me and got the position. Just because I confided in her by letting her know my plans . She was not interested in that position until I said something. After careful thoughts and observations I realize that I was not ready for that responsibility .

  2. david duchene

    …very true! …and beware when men (and/or women) think that they are God and sabotage another’s ministry and then try to claim that it’s “God”.

  3. Why does God say NO to healing a dad of cancer so he can live to raise his four children for God? Why does God say NO to bringing a godly man into that single mom’s life to be her husband and help her raise those four children? Where is the good in God saying NO to that? I have read Mark 14:36 recently where Jesus prayed in the garden and Jesus also said, “Father, Father, everything is possible for You.”(TLB) That got me wondering if there could have been any other way for Jesus to pay for our salvation. So far in my reading of the bible I have found only one other place Jesus makes a statement like that. In Mark 10:27, “But with God everything is possible.” (TLB) Here He was talking about a rich man getting into heaven. Even though it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle it is possible for God to save a rich man. There is nothing impossible for God, He just has to be willing. How Do You Find the will of God? If my children’s father is better off dead and living in heaven then why do we still have to live here? Why can’t we die too?

  4. Thank You for that true message! God is always right, on our side, and knows what is the best for us. I had been trying to get a job. the one I so wanted, i interviewed for and my phone didn’t work right. They say, They would call me in a day or two. I felt so sad. In reading this message. I left God is saying NO! God has the job He wants for me in Faith! Thank You for me seeing the bigger picture!

  5. God alone knows the heart of men and women…and children. We are all his children, and God knows things that Satan can’t know…unless we tell him ..so don’t worry about the small stuff…or the big stuff..God knows what has to happen..trust in God and he will take care of us as we care for our children. Death is not the end..and our lives are sacred to a God. He came here to show us how to live and how to treat each other…let the blessings flow in your lives by believing what God says and love God with all your heart!

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