Read stories from listeners of TWR Women of Hope.
May11FriMay 11, 2018 By the TWR Canada Women's Ministry Team
What do you do when God says no?
For most of us, this is hard. We desire something with all our hearts; we pray fervently for it, but it doesn’t happen. Maybe it’s a wayward child you want to come back to God. Maybe it’s a career you dreamed of but never had. A broken relationship. A sick parent. A difficult marriage. An illness. A life you dream about. We pray and pray and try to have faith, but we don’t see anything changing.
It might be tempting to think, “Maybe God doesn’t care about [insignificant] me,” or “Maybe there’s something wrong with me.” Or maybe God just cannot be trusted. When we think this way, we allow doubt to creep into our hearts. We doubt God’s personal love for us and his sovereign plan for us. We doubt that he is who he says he is. We back away from him, afraid to be hurt, afraid to trust and be let down.
Is there a better way? There will always be things God says no to. He has a bigger plan that we can’t know or understand, and sometimes what we want – or when we want them – are not actually good for us. But how do we deal with God’s “no” in a way that brings us closer to him rather than pushes us away from him?
Let’s look at Hannah in the Bible. She could not have children, and it brought her great pain. When she and her husband and his other wife went to sacrifice to the Lord, she couldn’t eat. Her husband’s other wife would provoke her, tease her and insult her until she was in tears. In that era, a woman’s ability to have children was extremely significant. If you did not have children, you were often considered cursed. Not only did Hannah live with this shame, she had to live with another woman who was competing with her for her husband’s attention and would aggravate and torment her.
Can you relate? You want something, and perhaps like Hannah you are distressed, and you suffer because of it. 1 Samuel 10 says, “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.”
Hannah didn’t let her pain drive her away from God. Instead, she poured out her problems to him. In 1 Samuel 15-16, Hannah tells the priest: “I am a woman troubled in spirit…I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Then, after speaking briefly with the priest, Hannah “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”
Hannah still did not have the child she longed for. But she poured out her heart to the Lord, and she was comforted.
Can we do the same? When things get difficult and our prayers appear unanswered, can we run closer to the heart of Jesus instead of running away? Can we believe that God is trustworthy, that he will take care of us even when we can’t see it? Can we pour out our hearts to him, telling him about the pain we feel, about how much it hurts, and trust that he cares and that he loves us? Can we walk by faith in God rather than by sight, believing that he is in control even though we can’t see things change? Can we do this even when it’s hard, it hurts and it looks impossible? Can we use our pain like Hannah to become closer to God and receive the healing and comfort he offers?
As we learn to trust God even when it’s hard, even when we can’t see things changing, our faith will increase. Not our faith that God will do something, but a deeper faith, our faith that God is worthy of our trust and love. We will learn that God cares and loves us more than we can comprehend, that he’s always there, holding us through every single dark time instead of always taking them away. And our faith will be made stronger – a faith that can stand firm, a faith that does not waver when things are difficult.
This is a truth that we all can learn, and one that TWR Women of Hope is proclaiming to women around the world. This month, as we pray through the prayer calendar, we see again and again that the women in East Africa face overwhelming circumstances. Their pain and their needs are great. Into this despair and hopelessness, TWR Women of Hope is sharing the love that Jesus offers and encouraging them to trust in him in the midst of their circumstances. Our desire is that women would turn to the Lord to meet all their needs, that they would be like Hannah and pour out their hearts to the Lord and find comfort in him alone.Thank you for joining us in prayer. If you don’t receive our prayer requests regularly and would like to, click here to sign up for weekly emails or to have the monthly calendar mailed to you.