When God Says No

Danger unsafe road sign IMG_2110

I’ve learned that God is not nearly as restrictive as the culture I grew up in. He doesn’t place fences around fences around fences out of fear of one of us accidently going too far – at least for those who desire to grow in relationship with him.

The more we look to the Holy Spirit to guide us with his love and empower us with his grace, the more rule-making and rule-keeping becomes superfluous. In fact, rule-keeping can keep us from a closer walk with God, for we tend to focus on definitions of right-and-wrong behaviour rather than a love-based relationship that shows in our choices. When we rely on study alone and forget that the scriptures tells us we can, indeed, hear the Shepherd, we don’t bother to listen. (for Weeding Out the Noise click here.)

My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. (John 10:27)

But sometimes I forget to ask him. Sometimes I start to walk in self-confidence instead of Holy Spirit-confidence. It looks good to me so away I go. Sometimes I barge ahead when I need to stay close to God and pay attention to the wisdom from above. Not all is as it first appears. Not every well-intended action is wise. Not everyone has the same assignment. Not all my own unexamined motives are pure.

More than once I have gone along with projects that looked good and ignored warning signs. The road may be right for them and suited to their personal equipping, but it’s not for me, at least not now. Often, I have found myself bogged down in burdensome tasks because I was led by my own desire to alleviate suffering (or my own privilege-guilt) without paying attention and asking for discernment in this particular situation. I wanted to do something – anything. So I did.

It didn’t turn out so well.

I once joined a group of people who seemed to be forging the way for greater things to be done in this city. I was happy to learn from them, even though they seemed to concentrate more on looking for historic strongholds of evil and what the devil was doing than looking at what Jesus was doing. Then I had a dream.

In the dream I was travelling down a local country lane which is called Hidden Valley Road. I came to a red light where there is no red light in real life. When the light didn’t change, I assumed it wasn’t working and kept going. Then a barbed wire fence appeared across the road. Now my curiosity kicked in. What was it I was not supposed to see?

In the dream I crawled under the fence to peak at what was around the bend. Suddenly a rockslide tumbled down the hillside in front of me. Boulders covered the road missing my toes by millimeters.

“What was that about?” I prayed after I woke up.

Over the next few days, I came to realize that when I asked the Lord to guide my path he would. He was saying no. Exploring the hidden valleys of darkness was not for me. My assignment is to talk about his goodness and his mercy. I longed for a group of friends in which I felt I could belong and be understood so much that it was difficult to drop out, but I did.

It wasn’t until months later the wisdom of stepping away was confirmed.

Most of the time I hear the Lord say that he gives us much more freedom to grow than we have this far taken advantage of. But greater freedom comes with greater responsibility to stay close to him. When he says no we need to stop immediately, even when we don’t understand the reason or fear offending someone.

I am learning to hear his voice. Sometimes I am wrong, and I need to admit when I have missed it, but God is good and there is grace for the maturing process. The faith walk in real time means taking risks, taking responsibility, and learning how to respond more quickly the next time.

But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.

(Hebrews 5:14 TPT)

11 thoughts on “When God Says No

  1. Charis, love how you listened through your dream and obeyed in your life. Listening and obeying is so important to hear more from the Lord. When I have difficulty hearing, I have a blockage that comes from disobedience to something He had instructed me to do. He has me working on my heart loving Him and being tender to him. He highlighted: John 14:23 TPT, “Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word. And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place. “

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    1. What a wonderful verse! I think there are different reasons for lulls in the conversation, not all of them have to do with disobedience. But yes, often when we have difficulty hearing it is helpful to go back to the last thing we heard. Did it require an action or time to put it into practice? Maybe that’s where we became stuck. Bless you, friend, for listening and obeying.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kristina

    I know from experience to pay attention to those warnings. Trouble is, I haven’t always known what the warning was referring to. It’s good you were able to hear and understand.

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    1. I hear you. I was talking to a friend about this yesterday. We realized that sometimes you need to wait until it makes sense. It’s like being given the answer before you have asked the question. Sometimes it’s just mind lint – stuff left over from TV and or the internet and the day’s events that needs to be dumped and left on the night table. It’s a learning process in which we need to always seek the Lord.

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  3. debit01

    This is something I have been struggling with lately. I think the Lord has shown me NOT to help someone. But that seems wrong. And yet I keep getting confirmations like your article. Am I worried about what others will think? Hmm. . . I have decided not to help but if I am wrong asking God to show me that. Thank you for this thought provoking post.

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