Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“No” can be a little complicated, can’t it?  Two letter words are supposed to be simple.  “No” can either cause absolute frustration, great joy, bitter anger, long awaited relief or longer awaited disappointment. It can be your greatest disillusionment or your greatest protection.

I remember significant “no’s” in my life.  We all do.  Some “no’s” I received, I never should have asked the question or even sought out the opportunity.  Some were responses to my plain ignorance but most were for my protection and just part of His plan to keep me in step with Him.   Some were devastating at the time.  Now as I look back, a few still baffle me but most I can see clearly the story the Lord was writing.  I am most grateful for all those years that the pregnancy tests said “no”.  I am even more grateful for the young woman who chose us to raise her child and then a month later said “no”.  Those were without a doubt mine and Jeff’s best “no’s”.  Because there was something else stirring...someone else waiting patiently in the wings.  God’s best was there, in a state of repose until His hand revealed it.  His best.  Our best.  His best for all of us.

This past year we’ve had three big “no’s”.  We went looking for “yes’s” and they all came back “no’s”.  As I have shared, we’ve been here before.  I don’t like it. It’s tiring and sometimes embarrassing. It’s discouraging and utterly confusing.  Some “no’s” can hurt relationships, making us second guess someone’s confidence, or tempting us to judge someone’s motivation.  Some can tempt us to lose hope.  And the best effect?  Some send us running to our prayer closets as fast as we can.... pleading for clearer direction, retracing our steps of faith.  Did we misstep?  Is it the worst “no”- the one that means it’s all over?  Should we never have asked in the first place?  Or is this “no” just a delay?  Could it be the set up for that best waiting in the next chapter of the story?  Ahhh, handy hindsight.   Right now, for these situations, Jeff and I don’t have that but we’ve got something better.  We know God’s track record and it’s flawless.

I’ve had “no’s” fall on my hardened heart and thankfully, a soft one too.  Note to self: a hardened heart is always a bad idea.  When a “no” falls on my by-the-grace-of-God soft heart, a teachable one, it causes me to seek Him out more purposefully, more diligently, more desperately.   I dig into the scriptures with fervency I haven’t known since the last time I was desperate and I persistently ask for the Lord to reveal the treasures in the midst of all the questions.  And when I see it, it’s the most beautiful thing ever because He’s reminding me that He’s still good and that He’s still working to bring about His purposes.  His Word brings life and then I can feel it all running through me.  Here is some of the life He has brought these last few months.

“ 'Surely God is my salvation;  I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.’  With JOY you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2-3

"I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.”  Psalm 34:4-5

"They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end.  Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:27-30

And Psalm 40, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.......He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

And I cannot leave out Streams.  God uses it.  {And thanks, friend, for pointing it out to us this day.} “But God has purpose in all of His delays.  'The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.' {Psalm 37:23}  Next to this verse, in the margin of his Bible, George Mueller made this note, ‘And the STOPS too.’...... Must life be considered a failure for someone compelled to stand still, forced into inaction and required to watch the great, roaring tides of life from shore?  No--- victory is then to be won by standing still and quietly waiting.”

May we stand still and wait quietly.

I feel something stirring.  I know God’s best is there, in a state of repose until His hand reveals it.  His best.  Our best.  His best for all of us.


Alyssa said...

Krista, this is so very powerful. We've all had our fair share of "no," and I've found that some take longer to process than others.

TJ Wilson said...

"His Word brings life and then I can feel it all running through me."
Everyone, everyone should know how this feels.
Just around the bend.

maria said...

This is amazing & so incredibly true. Many times I have to remind myself God isn't always saying "no" but He may be saying "not yet," & our human patience needs a lot of work (oh hindsight). I'm so glad you posted this today bc it has spoken to me- I have been struggling with "healthy boundaries" & how to not spread myself too thin...ultimately being able to say "no". It's a powerful word all too often associated negatively but often times the no's lead to the most beautiful yes-es. :D

nikki said...

i read that same streams passage in my bed the other night...love how this makes me feel connected to you. looking forward to watching the next "yes" unfold in your journey.