I took a run today after a few days off. It was my regular course, my 4.48-miles around the hills of Castle Creek. The snow was beginning to fall a little, and the wind was strong against me as I headed up the hill towards Whitney Point.
I was praying, and talking to the Lord about all that is on my heart. So much passion and desire, interests and enjoyments, … and responsibilities. I found myself doing some speed work and intervals, pausing myself and my clock and sitting on the edge of the metal railing and enjoying the hand-numbing wind and the view of the country as it turns from a late fall to a soon to be snow-covered winter.
I thought about the last year I was at my parents’ before college. In the summer of 2005 I took a trip to Patrick Henry College, where I discovered my love for ultimate frisbee, but realized that the major I wanted to study wasn’t offered, and intercollegiate ultimate frisbee was a bad reason to attend any institution. I remember fighting with the Lord and coming to a place where I embraced His “no”. I’m so glad I did. About one year later, I found my way to The Master’s College, and what He taught me there has been life-changing.
Fast-forward a few years, and I felt God consistently saying “no” when it came to “finding love”. I never dated any guy before college, and during college, I was the “little sister” to a good group of guy friends, but never was I “that girl”. I remember finding myself really content (oh goodness… not at first) with that position as sister, and a few months later, God developed a friendship I had with a guy back home from a casual Facebook chat to June 2010, when Adam Bowman and I said our vows.
Whether it be relationships, life-affecting decisions and direction, or even the smallest bit of day-to-day wisdom that we seek from the Lord, learning to embrace the “no” is one of the hardest, but most rewarding steps of obedience we can take as His children.
Understanding that God is our Father Who desires to give His children good things (Ps. 84:11, Jeremiah 29:11) is what truly changed my life and allowed me understand the love dynamic in the word “no”.
I used to think God was out to get me. I used to think it was all up to me and my sinful, failing self, to fight my way to heaven. I used to think that God was just looking for a reason to throw me out and perhaps, one day, when I finally got to heaven’s door, something I’d done–or not done–would discount me from being able to enter the pearly gates, and I would be doomed to an eternity in hell.
Coming to understand that God loves me because of Who He is and because of the
finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ, that my righteousness is nothing but the Father sees me as His child and Christ’s righteousness as my own and His love for the Son is now directed to me with the same amount of passion, joy, and anticipation of blessing that any father/mother desires to offer their child——wow! I can’t tell you how joy-overflowing, peace-giving, and life-altering that realization is.
Knowing that He loves me (even me) and wants the best for me allows me to walk in faith, peace, and joy amidst the “no’s” of life. No, I don’t have any foresight to know His plans and His timing and His direction 100%. However, I do have hindsight to know that every time He has said “no”, it’s because He has something better for me. Every time He’s “held me back” was because I wasn’t ready, He had more important plans, or He was protecting me from something that might cause me harm. Every time He’s taken something away has been for some greater reason than myself, resulting in a greater understanding of His character, my lack of foresight, and His Love for me.
So, what has He said “no” to you about recently? Are you understanding His love for you as He opens your clamped fingers and asks you to let go?