Gratitude – When God Says “No”

by | Mar 9, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 4 comments

It’s one of the first words kids learn. “No”. They learn it well too.

You never really had to teach it to them, did you? It’s kind of like they get it by osmosis or something. Just like all of my bad habits I see emulated in my children. Oh dear, poor kids.

“No” is a powerful word and it sounds a lot different when coming from different people. I respond a lot differently when it comes from someone who loves me, versus someone I’m ‘supposed’ to obey.

God answers “No” sometimes. Probably more than we realize, but we remember the BIG times the best.

Six years ago I found out I was expecting a fourth child. Big suprise. My husband was finishing up seminary, I had three kids 4 and under, and I worked full-time at an inner city preschool in Charlotte, NC.  After the initial shock of this unexpected blessing, I accepted the idea of Basham #4 becoming a part of our family, and hopefully being another girl – to even the score 😉

Eight weeks into the pregnancy, (exactly 6 years ago this week) after hearing that first little heartbeat, something went wrong. I started bleeding. All the way to the hospital, I prayed for God to keep the baby safe. To take care of this little life. That though she was unexpected, she certainly wasn’t unwanted.

Even after the ultrasound technician turned the screen away from us and avoided our eyes. Even when she went to get the doctor to talk with us, I kept praying.

But God said “no”.

Or did he?

I prayed that God would keep the baby safe. That he would take care of the baby. There is no safer place, than in His arms. No more beautiful haven, than his home. Imagine the lullabies my little one woke up to 🙂

Did God’s answer hurt?

Oh yes, there are still times when I feel the pain of that loss. Still moments when I try to think of how old that little person would have been or what he/she might have looked like.

But in the wake of that answer, beautiful things happened. God took that hurt and built my character. He took the strength I gained from that trial and placed me in situations where I could ministery to women who were hurting in the same way. He took something that could have rocked my world to the breaking spot, and led me to a deeper trust in Him.

Do I understand it all? No, and I don’t reckon I will, since I’m human and He’s God. But that’s what trusting someone who LOVES you is like, and not just any ‘someone’, but the God of creation, who did not withhold his only Son but gave him as a ransom for us. Our Rescuer.

If we have nothing else to thank God for, we have salvation. We have a living Hope. We have present peace and a clear conscience. And we have love.

But God gives us over and abundantly – and even when He says “No”, we still have reason to thank him. To show gratitude.

The test of true faith is what we do when God says “No”.

When God doesn’t heal. When God doesn’t restore. When God doesn’t change that person’s heart or give the money we need or provide another choice.

He’s still the same God who said “Yes” the day before. Still the same loving Father who gives his kids good gifts – but sometimes the best for us might come wrapped in the answer we fear the most.

Even Jesus got the answer “No”. Do you remember? In the garden of Gethsemane he was praying to have this ‘cup pass’ from him…the cup of God’s wrath. But then he did something that all of us should learn to do – he prayed “Not my will but yours be done.” (wince)

Trusting God is at the heart of our response to his answers. Knowing we are secure in His love guides our response to his answers.

Just like I mentioned on Monday, as parents know what’s best for their kids – even when the kids think the parents are being mean and cruel, God knows what’s best for us.

Romans 8:28 says,

 “28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This is our hope and comfort, when God says “No.” This is one of the reasons we can still be thankful, when God says “No.”

Because he loves us more than His life and our desires. His love is perfect.


  1. Julie

    Beautiful post, Pepper, especially your story and your reminder that the Father even told Jesus “no.” Very powerful.

    When God says no to me — to healing or restoration or other awful situations where He could intervene but doesn’t, I am reminded of Peter when he said,
    “But where else can we go, Lord? Only You have the words of eternal life.” So no matter how angry or hurt I get at what I perceive as God’s lack of response, I think the same thing. Where else can we go? No where! He IS the only hope, peace and joy we have. Period.


  2. pepperbasham

    BEAUTIFUL comment, Julie. YES! Where else can we go? What other options are there?
    ONLY Jesus 🙂

  3. cate tuten

    I love this, Pepper….So glad the Lord lead you to write it, because it is truth. Not the twisted truth of the Prosperity Gospel that teaches God always says yes, and if He says no, it is because “WE” did not have enough faith. We had “blessing blockers”. It is God’s great love that directs our life, not our human, often self-centered, “name it and claim it” mumbo-jumbo…..Yet, I have many good friends who have fallen for this teaching that puts “US” in the center and not the Lord…..

    • pepperbasham

      I understand your comment so well. Many wonderful people, who love Jesus, have a difficult time accepting His…Providence. Often we are labeled as those with ‘little faith’ or our ‘God is too small’, but praying ‘God’s will be done’, is not only Biblical, it’s an act of faith and trust.

      It’s SO easy for us (as humans) to want to play some hand in our fates – even our faith. If we can just DO or not DO something, then that will make it work out. It’s when we realize, Christ has already DONE it and our response is to worship him with our lives and glorify him through our attitudes and actions, that we feel the freedom from the ‘doing’. We can REST in his grace.

      Thank you for your comment.


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