God is a Father that answers prayer, and we love when He agrees with our prayer requests. However, there will be times when God says "no" or not yet to our prayers. As a good Father, God will never agree to something that’s not in our long-term best interest, even when we constantly pray or beg. When God says yes to our prayer requests, it builds our confidence and faith in prayer. So what should we do when God tells us "no" or not yet? Accepting God’s "no" can be challenging, but you must trust that God is saying "no" for the reason that’s beyond your understanding.
God's "No" in the Bible
The Bible shares a few examples of God not doing what someone asked. God can see things that we can’t, which is why He tells us "no" when it’s necessary. In 2 Samuel 12:16, King David pleaded with God for the life of his and Bathsheba’s infant son. David fasted and prayed for days. However, on the seventh day, the baby died. Instead of being angry at God and turning away from Him, David accepted what God had done, and he went to church and worshipped. Of course, David hoped for a different outcome, but he understood that God is God; He has the right to choose who lives and who dies. David didn’t become bitter; instead, He trusted that God knew what He was doing and accepted his decision.
The New Testament also offers examples of God saying "no." In Acts 16:6-9, Paul was all set to travel throughout Asia Minor to preach, but God said "no." At first, Paul thought he understood God’s plan; He tried to continue through Asia, but this time, the Holy Spirit told him "no." Paul wanted to listen and obey God, regardless of what he wanted. So Paul left Asia Minor and went to Macedonia instead. In Macedonia, Paul started churches that touched the entire world. Paul shows a different reaction to God’s "no;" he chooses to obey God and redirect to another plan.
In his personal life, Paul was troubled by what he called a thorn in the flesh. He describes this thorn as a messenger that Satan sent to torture him. Paul asked God three different times to take this torn away, but God said "no." In this instance, Paul learned to give God the glory even when things got too hard. Like David, Paul could have become angry with God and turned away from him. Instead, Paul chose to be grateful and give praise during the hardships.
Both of these instances show us that God will never stop being God. Isaiah 46:9-11 says that God is God and there is no other like Him. There are times when God will say yes because our plans fit with His plans. Romans 8:28 says that God works for the good of the people who love Him in all things. It says that God works for the people who He calls according to His purpose. This verse in Romans says that God already has a plan set for us. God said yes to Moses’ request when he asked to see His glory. God also said yes to Solomon when Solomon asked God for wisdom. Sometimes, our goal doesn’t match His plan, and that’s where He has to take control.
Why God Says "No"
There will be times when God says "no" to things that we want very badly. For example, you may have been praying to God for years to have a baby. For whatever reason, God keeps saying "no." In this instance, God’s "no" doesn’t mean that God thinks you’ll be a bad parent; It could just mean that God doesn’t like the partner that you’re with, and He’s waiting for you to leave them and find a better partner. As another example, you may be going through a rough patch in your relationship, praying for God to fix it. However, God says "no." This example of God saying "no" doesn’t mean that God didn’t want to save your marriage; instead, He knew you deserved better.
Those with childish faith will use God’s "no" as an excuse to turn away from Him or ditch Him altogether. Yes, God will answer our prayers, but that doesn’t mean that He is our genie, waiting for our every beck and call. He is not obligated to grant every request that we give Him. If we expect God to provide us with everything we want, that won’t make Him a good Father. We should never expect God to perform for us; Instead, we should be grateful for the blessings that He gives us and thank Him for keeping us away from problems that we can’t see. A "no" from God will teach us to persevere, even when we don’t understand. James 1:3 tells us that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
God telling us "no" can also force us to pursue God more intently. When God constantly tells us yes, we tend to only go to Him when we need something. God telling us "no" shows that we genuinely love Him and understand that He wants to best for us, even when we don’t understand. God’s "no" will also break the box that we try to keep Him in and allow God to reveal who He is to us. God is a good Father; He can’t always give us what we want when we ask for it, especially when He knows it’s not good for us.
God tells us "no" when it’s a part of his bigger plan. Our lack of faith shows that we don’t believe He is who He says He is. Hebrews 11:6 says that it’s impossible to please God without faith because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and He rewards people who seek Him with intention. God also says "no" when our prayers are rooted in selfishness or when a yes would harm us. God’s "no" also teaches us patience. It shows that we may not always get what we want when we want it. Ultimately, God saying "no" means that He wants the best for us and that His plan is bigger and better than ours. While you’re waiting for God to say yes, thank Him for protecting you by saying "no."