When God Says No

Palawan Daily News - - Opinion -

In per­fect faith­ful­ness you have done won­der­ful things, things planned long ago. Isa­iah 25:1

When I was con­scripted into the mil­i­tary at age eigh­teen, as all young Sin­ga­porean men are, I prayed des­per­ately for an easy post­ing. A clerk or driver, per­haps. Not be­ing par­tic­u­larly strong, I hoped to be spared the rig­ors of com­bat train­ing. But one evening as I read my Bi­ble, one verse leaped off the page: “My grace is suf­fi­cient for you . . .” (2 Corinthi­ans 12:9).

My heart dropped—but it shouldn’t have. God had an­swered my pray­ers. Even if I re­ceived a dif­fi­cult as­sign­ment, He would pro­vide for me.

So I ended up as an ar­mored in­fantry­man, do­ing things I didn’t al­ways en­joy. Look­ing back now, I’m grate­ful God didn’t give me what I wanted. The train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence tough­ened me phys­i­cally and men­tally and gave me con­fi­dence to en­ter adult­hood.

In Isa­iah 25:1–5, af­ter proph­esy­ing Is­rael’s pun­ish­ment and sub­se­quent de­liv­er­ance from her en­e­mies, the prophet praises God for His plans. All th­ese “won­der­ful things,” Isa­iah notes, had been “planned long ago” (v. 1), yet they in­cluded some ar­du­ous times.

It can be hard to hear God say­ing no, and even harder to un­der­stand when we’re pray­ing for some­thing good—like some­one’s de­liv­er­ance from a cri­sis. That’s when we need to hold on to the truth of God’s good plans. We may not un­der­stand why, but we can keep trust­ing in His love, good­ness, and faith­ful­ness. Lord, give me the faith to keep trust­ing You even when You say no.

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