Years ago, my husband and I asked a favor of a family member. We felt certain she would graciously say, “Sure!” But instead we received a shocking, flat, “No.”
Stunned, my husband continued the conversation politely, but once the call was over, we sat in our living room in shock and disappointment. But it was such an unexpected answer, we knew that God Himself shut the door. It had to be God’s gracious hand because it was so uncharacteristic of the family member.
As a result of that “no” we ended up moving to North Carolina, but if the conversation had gone differently, we would’ve been somewhere else–perhaps not where God wanted us. Through the years we’ve witnessed why we’re here.
When “No” is a Good Thing
“No,” can be a tough pill to swallow especially when it involves your heart and needs. Sometimes God’s “no” is more like “wait.” Personally, I’ve had several shut doors to one of my deepest desires. With every “no” I’ve had to trust God. It’s not been easy, but I’m beginning to see what happens when I get frustrated and do things my way. It makes life harder. I must trust God’s answer even when it’s not what I desperately want.
Think of what happened when Sarai and Abram thought they would help God with His timing. That didn’t work out well either. In fact, you could say it was a disaster we are still dealing with today.
So, what do you do when God tells us “no”?
Ruth experienced a “NO.”
We are in lesson 27 of the Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise. Boaz has gone to the city gate to meet with the other redeemer and the elders.
This is a situation where we (who live on the other side of the Cross and know the end of the story) shout, “Hallelujah!” when the un- named redeemer says, “No, thanks. This won’t be good for my family.”
Have you been thankful for a “No.”? I believe Ruth was that day.
On this day the Lord did repay Ruth for her kindness she’d shown to both Naomi and Boaz and her trust of the Jewish God. Boaz’s words had come to fruition.
When Jesus Received a “NO.”
Who can forget Jesus’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane requesting for the Lord to find another way to redeem us. Three times He pleaded until He finally knew God’s answer and resolved to do what He had been sent to do. This was a “No” that we all should be humbly grateful for. And it should help us remember that our lives affect everyone around us. God alone knows the big picture and the why.
Spend some time in with your Redeemer this week. Read the verses below and chew on the prompts. Listen quietly for that still, small voice and write down His wisdom. I pray this week may be a turning point in your relationship with Jesus and your understanding of what He’s done for us. Here’s a preview of what’s on the printable.
Monday: Ruth 4: 3-4
Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[a] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
Prompt: What if the story ended here? What would make the ending so wrong? What does this teach you about reading scripture or the significance of relationship in redemption?
Tuesday: Ruth 4: 5-6
Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[b] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.” At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
Prompt: Swew! That was close. Be still my heart. Even though this looks bad on the redeemer’s part, to decline redeeming the land and marrying Ruth, aren’t we glad he declined? Write down a time a shut door totally took you by surprise but later you were thankful.
Wednesday: Matthew 26: 36-45:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Prompt: Remember that Boaz is a “type” of our Redeemer, Jesus. He followed all the laws of redemption for Ruth and Naomi just as Jesus’s sacrifice satisfied the spiritual laws set in place. Jesus asked for this “cup” to be taken from Him. What do you think the human Jesus dreaded the most? And what do you think gave Him the strength to say, “Not my will but yours.”? Can any of this help you when facing a difficult, painful, and dying to self situation?
Thursday: Matthew 26: 27-28
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Prompt: This was the third cup of the Passover meal, the Cup of Redemption. When Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, He was saying that He came to demonstrate it all the way to the end. What kind of God would go to such lengths to satisfy the law and forgive us by His own blood? Can He be trusted?
Friday: Hebrews 9: 27:
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Prompt: Are you waiting for Jesus to come back? Write a prayer of thankfulness, confession, and anticipation. This Redeemer has paid the price, and He’s coming back for His bride.
If You’re Hearing “No.”
If No is the answer you’re hearing from God, please join me Wednesday night via Facebook or later on YouTube to be encouraged by deeper study into these scriptures. God has a plan for you, and it is good.
If this has been encouraging, subscribe to receive the posts weekly in your e-mail and invite someone you know who is in the waiting room too.
And let us know how a “no” in your life turned out to be good. Encourage others with your testimonies!