By Darlene Melcher
“I guess God answered ‘No’ to that prayer.”
I said it jokingly, as my husband asked God for some help in chopping a huge piece of wood. The wood went bouncing away, unscathed. Our three kids stood a safe distance away and cheered their Papa on as they watched his hard work.
A little voice spoke into the air, “God, please help Papa break that wood.”
The ax head bit deeply into the chunk of pecan log and three little onlookers jumped and cheered, “Yay! God said ‘Yes’ to that prayer.”
On it went, little prayers, watching and waiting eyes, cracking wood and shouts of glee, “God said ‘Yes”!”
An everyday simple task turned into a faith-building worship service. All through the weekend I heard the children ask God for things and then wait to see if He would say “Yes” or “no”. Something turned in my heart, a perspective shift. How often had I assumed that God didn’t answer, that He didn’t hear me, when really His answer had simply been “no”? The “No” may be disappointing, but unresponsiveness is unbearable. Instead of reading the silence as God’s indifference, what if I interpreted it as a wise and loving, “No, my dear,” or “Not now, my child.”?
I’m sad when I think of the many times I was angry with God because I thought He didn’t hear me, or didn’t care. Once, I was so frustrated with God that I decide to stop praying. “Well, if You aren’t going to talk to me, then I’m not talking to You!” Yes, sometimes adults act like toddlers. But God is a good and patient Father. He doesn’t bend to our will just because we throw a fit, He sees the BIG picture and quietly works and waits as we mature and learn to trust His “No” even as we rejoice in His “Yes”.
But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me. Psalms 66:19-20 (NASB)