“But the Lord said to David, my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’”
2 Chronicles 6:8-9
What do we do when we have something good in our hearts we want to accomplish and God says no. Good idea, but you won’t be the one to do it. Have you experienced this? David did. And when I read these verses in Chronicles, I thought, “Wow, I bet that hurt David.”
I’ve had this experience with people, and honestly, I don’t always react well. When I offer a gift whether material or in service or even a small kindness and it is rejected, I feel rejected. I then act like a child and pout. My mind pops off with things like, “Fine, if you don’t want me to help you, then I won’t. Just see if I offer to do anything for you again.” Not very mature, I know.
Learning to accept “no” is an essential step in our walk with God. It’s one way to advance in maturity and grow in relationship. To learn more, I went back to 2 Samuel:7-8 to read how David responded. Take a few minutes to read these chapters for yourself.
Here’s my summary:
David wanted to build a house for the Lord (a permanent temple in Jerusalem). God sent Nathan the prophet to tell him that David would not build the temple, but that his son would build it. Then God reminded David that God had chosen David, a shepherd, to be King over Israel. God had never asked for a permanent building for Himself, but because David had this good thing in His heart, God would make for David an eternal house. This points to the line of kings and eventually to Jesus, who would be born of the line of David.
David responded with gratitude and began collecting materials for the temple that Samuel would use to build the temple. Let me repeat, David responded with GRATITUDE. Yes, God gave David a greater blessing than David was trying to give God. But he still responded with a grateful heart for WHO God was, not just for the promises He gave David. He didn’t pout, he didn’t get angry, he said thank you. And then he got to work collecting the materials Solomon would need.
I gained a perspective on receiving “No” from both God and from people through David’s response.
When God says no, He is getting ready to bless us and others in a way we never could have imagined. The proper response is always gratitude. We should be as grateful for God’s “no” as we are for His “yes.”
God’s “no” is for our good. We know this because God is for us, He is with us, and He loves us more than we’ll ever be able to fathom. If we ask God for something and He says no or even wait, then we can rest assured that His answer is for our benefit AND the benefit of others.
Notice that God said no to David’s request to build the temple himself but gave that job to Solomon. God passed the blessing to someone else and David didn’t say, “It was my idea! Why don’t I get to carry it out?” No, David showed maturity and trust and prepared the way for Solomon to be successful. Why? Because David cared more about honoring God than about getting the credit for building God’s temple.
And there’s the pain point for me. I want the credit for doing something that honors God. I guess I’m acting like James & John when they ask Jesus for a place and His right and left hands in heaven. They wanted recognition for their work and relationship with Jesus. I want recognition for my good intentions too. But that’s not God’s plan. God wants to bless His whole family and God’s glory is HIS glory, not mine.
When God says no, we honor Him by embracing His answer and empowering others to move forward in God’s will. Next time God says “no” and my old self rises up in indignation, I’ll take a step back, look to the face of Jesus and simply say, “thank you.”
Accepting “no” from people can be a bit more difficult. We feel like we need a reason for them to reject our offer of help. We think they owe us an explanation, but they don’t. It’s good that we want to help, but the other person must be willing to receive it. If they aren’t there yet, we need to accept their “no” with grace.
We don’t have to know why they say no. Maybe it’s because they don’t feel comfortable accepting help from others (I can also relate to that). Maybe it’s because they have another plan that we aren’t aware of. Either way, we can be gracious and leave the offer of help open to them. And we should pass up the temptation to harbor offense against them.
When we have trouble accepting “no” from people, it’s an indication that it’s time to check in with God. Ask Him to search our hearts and reveal the truth of our own hurt. Do we feel a sense of rejection or is our pride wounded? If either of these causes us to lash out, then we need to deal with these heart problems. Let God in and let Him heal those wounds that trip you up when dealing with others.
Even if your offer to help is good and filled with God’s blessings, it is still up to the other person to accept the gift. You can’t make them let you help, even if you’re right, even if you know what’s best. But you can always pray for them and ask God to intercede on their behalf. They may not be ready to let you help, but God can work wonders on wounded hearts.
It is good when our hearts want to help others, be a blessing to them, and honor God through our actions. God will bless the genuineness of those good desires. But the answer may still be no. How we respond to no tells us a lot about the truth buried in our hearts.
If you still have work to do in this area, like I do, then we can turn to God. Learning to trust in His grace and goodness will help us accept “no” from Him and from others.
Father, thank you for your goodness, kindness, and faithfulness to us. We are grateful that your will is for our good and that we can trust you in the “yes” and “no” of life. Help us come to you with sincere hearts, show us places we need to let you cleanse, and continue to lead us closer to you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.