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No one likes to be told no. We all want what we think would make our lives better in some way. We pray for blessing, we pray for healing, we pray for answers, we pray for solutions, we pray for rescue. We pray, we pray, and then we pray some more.
But what do we do when God says NO again? What if we face the reality that yet again, our plans are not His plans? Our loved one dies, we lose our house, we still don’t know where our wayward son is, or we face rejection for a promotion for what seems like the hundredth time. The list of challenges one can face is endless.
How then, do we go on? How do we keep breathing? How do we even put one foot in front of the other? Again?!
Look to the past
If you have been alive for any length of time I can guarantee that this is not the first time God has said no to you. We often never know why the answer was no, but there are times that we can see how His plan was in fact the better plan, even while still on this earth.
One of the things I look forward to most of heaven is being able to see how everything really was woven together in a way that was best. I look so forward to finally seeing the whole plan. Look to the past to see how God provided for you even in the midst of those storms. Remember how you were blessed through others.
Recall how your faith grew and how you grew to love your loved ones more. Maybe your challenges brought you closer to your family, brought new friends into your life, or kept you from making an even bigger misstep in some way. But look to the past to see the good that resulted in traveling through that hard place.
Look toward the future
Whatever the road is that you are on, it won’t always be the same. You will not remain in this same place forever. I am a runner. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I could go into great detail here, but for this purpose, I will say that I do not always love running. Sometimes I don’t even like running.
Oftentimes while running, I can only look as far forward as the next mailbox and challenge myself to get to that point. That point then becomes my focus.
This same principle can carry us through times when God says no. Those times when we find ourselves thrust onto a path that we never would have chosen. After you have looked to the past, look forward to a time when the path under your feet will be a different one.
Look to your Savior
Do not forget about the strength He can provide. He can see you, He can hear you, and He knows your heart. He knows your pain. He knows of your struggles. Although He may not bring resolution, we know that because of the death of Jesus that he gives us unconditional love and strength. He will never turn His back on you. Look to God.
Look at your situation differently
Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the details that seem to be holding us up that we can’t see the big picture. Especially if you have faith, there is always a bigger picture going on. See your situation, your challenge, your roadblock through different eyes. Get a new perspective. If nothing else, you can keep your eyes focused on the beautiful promise of eternity.
If you have faith, you can rest in the assurance that you will get through this. Even your “this.” Why? Because He says He will get you through.
Look for the opportunity to grow
No matter what you are facing, it can be an opportunity to grow. Kara at Mundane Faithfulness spoke of this so well. She faced cancer and fought an amazing battle with beauty, grace, and strength, but she continually pointed people back to God. When people spoke of her courage, she gave Him all the credit. She exemplified what it truly means to find an opportunity and growth in the midst of the hardest moments of her life.
Life can be so hard. So many times we seem to keep praying the same prayer only to hear the same answer – no. Although it can be hard, keeping our focus on looking back, looking forward, looking to God, looking with different eyes, and looking for opportunities to grow can carry us through.