When God Says ‘No’

Jul21 (1)

Last week a mom spoke to me about her recent heartache and I believe Empty Nesters will understand.  Her adult child was hospitalized, and everything in that mom wanted to take off and be fully available to help.  However, circumstances made it impossible.

There’s something in a mama’s heart that wants to get to the situation and “fix” things for their children. We know we could encourage our child, make meals for the grandchildren, feed the pets, drive family members to school, doctor’s appointments, sports practices, lessons, and give the grandchildren lots of hugs.  We could purchase groceries (especially the grandchildren’s favorite snacks) to fill the cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, and on and on.  In that instant, we become Supermom and Supernana, and sometimes that is exactly what God calls us to do!

Other times God does not give us the go ahead.  We are in a critical period at work, the distance is too far to drive and it’s too expensive to fly.  Perhaps we already have surgery scheduled or our ailing parent, who lives nearby, has the greater need.  The inability to go to our child’s side can be heartbreaking.

That’s when many of us find ourselves in tears, begging God to make it possible for us to be present, to help.  It’s also the moment when we need to stop and ask Him to begin giving us insight into the situation.

James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Often, we become so fixed on in-person assistance that we don’t realize we might be getting in God’s way.  I’ve learned to pray, “Lord, help me understand the situation.  Show me why I am staying at home.”  There could be a thousand reasons.  Perhaps our child needs to learn to accept help from others, instead of going-it-alone or depending on Mom.  Possibly an in-law or sibling needs the opportunity to show their love. During any challenging event, if we take time to pray – then listen, God generally reveals at least some details.  It might take longer than we want, but eventually, we will likely have some level of understanding.

Occasionally God keeps us at home for our own needs.  Perhaps He knows we are about to become very ill.  Or it’s possible that another situation is beginning to arise and will need our immediate attention.  There are probably hundreds of reasons why God tells us to stay home when we want to go.  It’s our job to do what he has told us and He always blesses us for obedience.

If you are just now learning how to hear God’s voice, let me point out that it doesn’t always come in the middle of our prayer time. You might be doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or driving to the store, when insight into the situation pops into your head – and it immediately makes sense.  Often it comes while we are reading our Bible.

More than once it has become evident that it is better for me to be at a distance, praying.   Prayer provides the energy behind powerful change.  If we are honest with ourselves, we know that when we are in the middle of the crisis, helping, we become too tired to do our best praying. But when God calls us to stay home, we are forced to pray from the depths of our heart, and that can be exactly what causes situations to change.  In fact, during the middle of the night, tear-laced prayers, God often speaks to us in wonderful ways.  He may remind us of reassuring scripture, speak peace to our hearts, or reveal what is truly going on.  Those are insights we can miss when we are on the scene, working from dawn to bedtime.

Occasionally God chooses not to share details – sometimes because they are related to future events that He isn’t ready to share.  I was not able to be at the birth of my first two grandchildren.  My son sent wonderful photos, but my heart desperately wanted to be in Georgia instead of Colorado.  God, who isn’t under any obligation to share future events with us, did not choose to tell me that I would be around for the birth of my third grandchild.  I got to spend time with my daughter in labor, and immediately after the birth I was able to go into a private area and watch the hospital staff clean the baby, weigh him, and perform other newborn activity.

Next time your heart wants to go to your child, but God seems to be saying no, remember that there are few things that can beat the prayers of a Mama whose children/grandchildren/parents are in desperate need.  Kneel by your bed, go to your prayer closet, or sit in a quiet place, and tell God everything that’s on your heart. Then listen for Him to tell you what’s in His Divine Mind.