How Can God Say ‘No’? (and still love me)

How Can God Say "No"? (and still love me) "I felt horrible telling God that I needed something more to reconcile my soul to this decision."

In theory the Sovereignty of God has never been difficult for me to understand. But practically speaking, this is the question where I always get stuck. How can God love all, when He allows pain? How can God be faithful, when so many died in the Holocaust?

How can God say No, and still love me?

The story that I think answers this best is that of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. If we look in Mark 14:32-39, we can see just how intensely Jesus was dreading what He knew was coming.

And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.”

Look closest at verse 36; God the Father told the One He loved most ‘No’. And what was Christ’s response? “Do what You will.” He submitted Himself to the Sovereignty of His Father, and endured.

In Luke 4:23-27, the point is that those healed were not of Israel, but I believe the point can be made that God chooses who is to be healed, and who isn’t. His choice. His will. Does this mean He didn’t love them? Does this mean that those struggling with chronic illness are condemned to misery by a sadistic power? No. We cannot understand how it could be loving, but we do know that God is Love Incarnate.

He cannot act apart from love.

So it comes to our choice: will we accept that His ‘no’ is loving? or refuse? The question is, will you argue with the character of God? —Not just love, but goodness, faithfulness, “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. Hebrews 11:6.

Prayer quote, love quote. God's plan.

In Luke 5:12, 13, Jesus heals a leper, but the point is not that the leper was healed, so much as the leper recognized it was Christ’s choice. He said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

I was going to end this post here, but God said ‘No’. 🙂

I had a personal experience happen where God told me ‘no’, and I struggled with being told that, even after I had most of this post written. The thing I asked Him for was not only something insignificant to anyone else, but it would have been a definite ministry victory for me. I understand death, even illness, but this would have been something good. It just didn’t work logically for me. I remembered this post, I reminded myself of God’s sovereignty…but I was still agitated. I felt horrible telling God that I needed something more to reconcile my soul to this decision. That was in the early morning. I wrestled all morning with my frustration but knew that He would give me what I needed. He always does. He gave me my answer at noon.

Scrolling through random verses on my phone, He placed before me a verse I had seen thousands of times. A verse I could probably tell you backwards. But there in that moment, it spoke to me as it never had before.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

His answer? It’s not about your logic. Trust Me.

There’s going to be times when He says ‘No’ even to good things, and it won’t make sense to us. “Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.” (Bow the Knee, Chris Machen)

Our God is good, our God is Love.

Trust Him.

To read more about what God has taught me about Love in 2017, click here.

  1. Loved this: “His answer? It’s not about your logic. Trust Me.”

    He’s given me this answer as well, time and time again! We are so critical of God when He says “no” or asks us to do differently, instead of being critical of our hearts. Like you said, He is steadfast and trustworthy and defines love itself! We are the ones who have to change, and say, “yes, Lord,” Your Will be done! Thank you for reminding me of this today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this reminder today. God has said no to me in seasons of my life and even though I may not understand, He does. If I look back at some of the “noes” I see how He worked things out for my good. Blessings on your week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. God’s ways aren’t always logical, are they? I think it is because he wants us to trust even when it doesn’t make sense? He’s always got something good in store, even in the most tragic circumstances on this earth, He’s working toward a heavenly victory. When God says no to me, I’m learning to say thank you. Because I really do believe that He has my best interests at heart and he knows that no is the best for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My “thank you’s” are usually grudging, at best ;D I’m sorry to say! It’s something I’m going to be working on for a while, I believe. Thank you so much for coming by and reading, Sarah!


  4. Awesome! I struggled with “a not yet” and thought God was punishing me. I felt as if I had done something wrong. Thank you for this post because His timing is not mine. I have no clue why I recieved a “not yet”, nor shall I try to figure it out. Just enjoy this season, and not lean on my own understanding!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So happy it found you at this time Lenae! It can be so frustrating sometimes but we have to hold on to the facts that He is good and He knows all….just gotta trust! Hoping you got some peace ❤


  5. What a great reminder, Liz! Just yesterday my pastor was speaking about this at church, how we often see “bad things” in our lives and wonder how God can be good if He allows these things in our lives. But we know God’s character and that He is good. Therefore the things He gives to us can be hard and sometimes unwelcome; but they are never bad. I also love the point you made that His answers are not always the logical ones. Still we need to trust Him, and based on His past faithfulness we know we can trust Him. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just read this morning in Luke 11 about how God being perfect always gives good gifts ❤ We may not see their good, but we can trust that He does! Thank you for reading Ronja!


  6. This reminds me of the Focus on the Family podcast I heard this morning with the Christian artist Laura Story. She’s recently published a book called “When God Doesn’t Fix It.” Sometimes God does say no and it’s difficult to understand, but thankfully we can trust there is a larger story behind the scenes that we don’t know about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This reminds me so much of a post I wrote a couple weeks back. Like you, I’ve struggled with accepting “no” as an answer. A coworker told me once that sometimes “a rejection is protection.” A big no leads to a greater yes.

    Liked by 1 person

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