What if it seems like God is saying “no” to what you want?

photo by cloud9designstudiophoto by cloud9designstudio

I curl up on the couch with God-sized dreams on my mind. Some have come true and others have not turned out the way I planned at all. I think, “I guess God said ‘no’ to that one.”

And it seems I hear a whisper in response within my heart, “I didn’t say ‘no’…I said ‘not this.’”


The more I reflected on that, the more true I knew it to be deep down. Like with having physical children, it might look like God said “no” to me. But He didn’t. He said “not this” and instead has let me be a word mama in ways beyond what I could have imagined–joyful, wouldn’t-trade-this-for-anything ways.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. {2 Cor. 1:20}.

So when God promised that if you delight yourself in Him then He will give you the desires of your heart, He meant it. What truly fulfills those desires may just look totally different than we first imagined. In that case, God says “yes” to the desire but “not this” to the many things we try along the journey to it.

And that’s the thing–the only way to get to the ultimate “yes” is to get through the “not this” answers that lead up to it.

You must try a lot of different things on the way to your God-sized dream coming true. It’s the only way to find out if what you’re dreaming of is what God really has for you. Paul said we’re to “test and approve” God’s will {Rom. 12:2}. It’s a process.

And along the way God may say…

“Not this season.”

“Not this job.”

“Not this door.”

The challenge in those moments is to not close our hearts–to believe that if God says “not this” to something we hold dear to us that He’s still saying “yes” to the desire deep within us. That takes trust and tenacity and sometimes a lot of tears. But here’s the encouraging part: when we do get to what God has for us it’s always better than what we dreamed for ourselves in the beginning.

And that turns all the “not this” answers along the way into one big “This was all worth it” that we can finally say.

~from Holley Gerth


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