And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. Romans 5:4 (TPT)
This post feels as though it’s been a long time in the making as I’ve walked it out over the past few months. Even as I write about it now I’m sure it is something I’ll continue to walk out in the coming weeks and months.
The Blessing of No
When we think of the blessing of No, our minds tend to go to the prayers we’re really glad God didn’t answer as we wanted Him to at the time. In these cases, God told us No to something that in hindsight we understand wasn’t His best for us. I’ve certainly experienced that, with some situations being harder than others to initially accept.
However, God’s been revealing to me a different angle where the No is not necessarily a final closed door in my pursuit, rather it’s more of a re-direction. My initial idea for how something would unfold is not His plan, so He takes me down a different path. So the “what” remains the same but the “how” is being challenged. Here’s the key thing though: it’s a path that I probably would not have discovered if it wasn’t for His No, which sent me searching and knocking on more doors that led to the later discovery that I made.
The tendency to stop at “good enough” can make it more difficult to discover “God’s best”!
In my particular situation recently, I was researching volunteer opportunities and I had found some that seemed interesting so I emailed for more information. However, when I did not receive many responses to my emails, I decided to keep researching to see what else I could find. By doing further research I discovered opportunities more closely aligned with my interests.
The Fruit of Persistence
I’m learning that true reward is often found in persistence, in not giving up. God has been illustrating this for me through His Word.
I remember the story of Hannah in the Bible who desperately wanted a child, she persisted in crying out to God and miraculously gave birth to Samuel and other children. I think of Ruth who was strongly encouraged by her mother-in-law Naomi to return to Moab and her people. Although her sister-in-law Orpah listened to Naomi and stayed in Moab, Ruth persisted and pleaded with Naomi to remain with her. That decision resulted in Ruth leaving her home and all that she knew. However, it ultimately caused her to become woven into the genealogy of Jesus, how amazing!
So this post is to encourage you as God has been encouraging me. A closed door to an idea or dream does not necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with the destination you have in mind. However, the path that you envisioned is not always the path that God wants to take you.
I’m reminded of the Israelites as they left Egypt heading to the promised land. The goal was always the same, reaching the promised land. The way they wanted to take to get there (via enemy territory) seemed the straightest and most obvious route. However, God said No to that path and He led them a different route (a longer more roundabout route) which ended up with them “stuck” at the Red Sea.
This resulted in one of the most amazing miracles ever seen that we’re still talking about today as Moses parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked through on dry ground. However, the Egyptians who were chasing them were drowned when they tried to do the same thing.
God’s No to the obvious path for the Israelites resulted in a miracle and blessing. The same is possible in our lives. When God says No to our plan to achieve a particular goal or dream, let’s dig in and keep searching, making sure to stay close to Him to hear His voice. There are discoveries to be made along the way so let’s not miss out on these because the first door we tried did not open for us.
Let’s re-double our efforts, try more doors and exhaust every opportunity to learn all that God wants to teach us in the situation we find ourselves. The character that is produced through the scenario will outlast the situation in which it was created. Proven character becomes a fruit of persistence in our lives.
As I wrap up this post, I wanted to include a disclaimer. Of course, there are times where our “what” (the goal or destination) may not be aligned with God’s purpose for us. So our persistence in exploring the “how’ (our available options) can still result in a negative answer from God as it isn’t His best for us. However, this post is not speaking about those situations. If you are interested in learning more about God’s purpose for your life, I suggest reading Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
How has persistence borne fruit in your life?
✞ Are You Really In?