When God says no

By Jessica Brodie

Sometimes, we beg God with everything we have to answer a prayer a particular way, but He chooses to say no. Then years later, we see how God’s “no” was because He had an even better situation in mind for us.

That’s what happened to me about 12 years ago. I was living in a remote place and desperately lonely. While I loved my job in journalism, I didn’t make a lot of money, which was extremely difficult. I wanted so badly to move across the state to be closer to my family, but the only job options available at that time were in a different career path: education advocacy. I had experience in education, having taught college for several years, so I was confident I’d get hired. I prayed and then set out on my job hunt. My resume was on point, and my cover letter was warm, self-assured, and direct. I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d be decided which of several opportunities to take.

God had other plans. Not only did I not get a single job offer, but I also wasn’t called for a single interview. It wasn’t just a “no” but a firm no. I was devastated.

A couple years later, God led me to another job opportunity in another state where I didn’t know a soul. And as God had planned, every door possible opened with that new job, a position I still hold today in serving as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, a highly respected and award-winning Christian newspaper that is the oldest in Methodism.

Not getting the job I thought I wanted ultimately led to me getting the job I needed. God did answer my prayer, only it took me a few years to see the big picture and understand how and why.

It feels sometimes when we want something—a job, a baby, a relationship, a sign—that God is ignoring us when we don’t get a clear answer, or when we get a vehement no in the form of a door slammed in our face. It hurts! Sometimes we question whether God heard us, or whether He even loves us or cares about our current difficult situation.

But as we read in the Bible, we know that when we are connected with God, our Father listens to us and answers our prayers. 

“This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us. If we know that he listens to whatever we ask, we know that we have received what we asked from him” (1 John 5:14-15 CEB).

God listens to us. God knows what is best for us. And God does answer our prayers. It just might take understanding that we need to align ourselves with God’s plan for our lives to be in ministry with Him—and be willing to go where He calls. 

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