I just have to put this article here thinking that others may benefit as well from Chuck’s wisdom. I got this devotional thru email when I subscribed from www.insight.org.
I’ve had so many plans in my life where I felt like God said a resounding “NO!” but there are instances in the past when I was either:
a.) confused b.) stubborn or c.) persistent to pursue the path so when they eventually didn’t work out, the situation almost always ruined my faith in Him.
Reading this gave me both wisdom and solace I need from my own unsettling questions.
“When God Says No“ by Charles Swindoll
Read 2 Samuel 7:4–17
“David, you will know the delight of having a son by whom this temple will be built. Not through your efforts, but through your son the dream will be fulfilled.”
It is not a question of sin here. It is not God’s judgment that is coming upon David as a consequence of wrong. It is simply God’s redirecting David’s plan and saying, “This is a great resolve, but I say ‘no’ to you and I say ‘yes’ to your son. Now accept that.”
Well, was David wrong to begin with—wrong in thinking of building the temple?
It is not a question of being wrong. It’s a question of accepting God’s “no” and living with the mystery of His will. We people on this earth package everything. And we expect God to package His plan for us just like we would. We want the logic that we use to be His logic. And when it isn’t, we wonder what’s wrong because it’s not working out like we would have worked it out.
When God says no it is not necessarily discipline or rejection. It may simply be re-direction.
You have pursued His will; you have wanted to do His will. With all good intentions you said, “By God’s grace I am going to pursue this.” And here you are, thirty or forty years later, or maybe only five years later, and it hasn’t materialized.
Now if you listen to some people, you’ll be put on a guilt trip. “You see there,” they say, “you set your heart on God, but you have run from Him. You’re out of His will.” I don’t know how many couples I have talked with who, early in their lives, had their life’s plan all mapped out, but it didn’t transpire. Perhaps the very road they are traveling is God’s will for them, and it took His saying “no” to get them on that right road. Others were of little help.
The thing we have to do in our walk with God is to listen carefully from day to day. Not just go back to some decision and say, “That’s it forever, regardless.” We need to look at it each day, keep it fresh, keep the fire hot, keep it on the back burner, saying, “Lord, is this Your arrangement? Is this Your plan? If it is not, make me sensitive to it. Maybe You’re redirecting my life.”
-first posted in my Multiply last July 23, 2008-