Have you noticed that many leadership gurus and authors stress the need to extend the “big ask,” that is, a request to someone to do something for you that you know will be a stretch for them?  If you are ministry or family leader like me, the issue is not a fear of this kind of asking as much as it is the big, fat “no” that often follows.

To be perfectly honest with you, I am writing this post primarily for my own sanctified catharsis but hope it will encourage you as well.  As a church planter, I am several years into waiting on God to say “yes” on multiple fronts include ownership of our first church building, leadership development, personal inadequacies, and several others that I’m sure you have no interest in reading.   I don’t know much about getting God’s “yes,” but I would like to share what gives me peace during this crucial “nope” season of life and ministry.  (These are principles that I have found to be true in past personal experience and observations from the lives of those who handle it which such grace and fortitude.

Here are some truths to remember when you get the big no:

  1. God’s “no” may actually only mean “wait.”
  2. Those people who say “no” to you are not necessarily resisting God’s will; they may actually be responding in perfect alignment with where it intersects with your life.
  3. Sometimes God’s “no” may simply be in response to your “no” to His already clearly revealed will.
  4. Whatever God says “no” to is ALWAYS inferior to what He will ultimately say “yes” to.
  5. How you handle and what you learn from the successive “no’s” prepares you to steward God’s singular “yes.”
  6. A lengthy series of “no’s” provides opportunity for tangible demonstration to other people of your tenacious commitment to God’s call in your life.
  7. A “no” from God monumentally increases your susceptibility to say “yes” to the world, the flesh, or the devil.
  8. When you said “yes” to God’s will in the past, you were saying, in large part, “yes” to His future “no’s.”  (You may have to chew on this sentence for awhile to understand it.  Lol.)
  9. Those who wrongly tell you “no” are not ultimately rejecting you but the God who is at the helm of your heart, home, and ministry.  (Just ask the prophet Samuel when ask to phase out his position for a trendy new king.)
  10. God has the right and prerogative to say “no” in your life anytime He wants…period.

The perfect example of the right demeanor for us in the face of God’s decline is found in the leadership of King David in 1 Chronicles 28:

Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.

What enabled David to respond to God’s “no” with the right attitude and willingness to simply stockpile supplies for a glorious temple his physical eyes would never see-a broader perspective of God’s will being worked out in the generations that would follow him!  Like David, may we truly trust that Heaven’s answer will always age well for the benefit of our descendants.

May I encourage you to join me in discarding our babyish impatience and resentment toward a God who will not just do what we want when we want it.  Don’t turn away from a God who loves the future enough to tell you and me “no” now.  Don’t turn to this world for the cheap knock-off version of what only almighty God can fully deliver.  Here it is: you will never get TO God’s epic, flood-level “yes” until you learn how to persevere THROUGH the wearisome drip-drips of His “no’s.”

Remember as one recent book title put it, “No Is Short for Next Opportunity.”  Ultimately God’s book reminds that the long view is not negative but all about His fulfilled promises in Jesus.

1 Co. 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

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