I begged God to take my friend’s cancer away. She was a force of nature with a larger-than-life personality. If anyone could beat cancer, I knew she could.
So I reasoned with God, offering very logical points: Her husband and kids need her. Her friends and students need her. She can still be a gospel witness while she is here. But God said no. Despite the prayers, tearful pleas, and sound arguments, he took my friend to her real home, leaving her devastated family and friends behind.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, an agonized Jesus pleaded with his father—twice—to take the cup of suffering away from him. God said no. So Jesus said, “May your will be done” (Matthew 26:42) and turned to the cross, where he would die and triumph over death for us.
The apostle Paul pleaded with God to take away his “thorn in the flesh.” He asked God—three times—to take it away. God said no. So Paul carried on with his gospel work, saying, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Sometimes no is God’s answer, even though we hate it. We fight against it, kicking and screaming like toddlers, pounding our fists and yelling to get our way. But like a wise and patient parent who knows what’s best for their child, God sometimes says no.
Lord, may we accept your no, knowing it’s a part of your perfect plan for our lives. Amen.