Twelve years ago I was stuck in a rut of want. There was an opportunity that looked so promising. A publisher expressed genuine interest in my writing. It seemed to be right. It felt right. I wanted it to be right. It must be right!
But it never came to pass.
In my most mature moments I reasoned, “It wasn’t meant to be. I trust God and believe in His perfect plans.”
In my not so mature moments I wondered, “God, this isn’t fair. Why do you keep saying no?”
And in my immature moments I whined, “God, do you care this hurts me?”
Have you ever been there?
Ruts of want are tough places to be stuck.
When God says no, we are sometimes tempted to wonder if He loves us. In reality, it’s because He loves us, He sometimes says no.
Read that last sentence again and rub it into your heart. The hurting part. The part that throbs and aches when you see others getting the exact opportunity you want. You fake a smile to hide the pain.
God brought this change of perspective to me through a baking disaster that happened to my youngest daughter, Brooke. She came to me at 9pm one night and asked if she and her friend could bake a cake.
Hope, Brooke’s older sister, had offered to help and I was too tired to argue the incessant pleas of a nine year old.
Brooke measured and poured, whipped and stirred, and carefully placed a batter-filled cake pan into the oven. Then she turned on the oven light and watched the cake bake. Her cake became her whole focus. She couldn’t stop looking at the cake and grew increasingly impatient with the slow-passing minutes on the timer.
Nothing kills patience like being solely focused on the object of your desire. And tragically, impatience becomes the breeding ground for compromise.
About 30 minutes into the 45-minute baking time, the cake looked done. It smelled done. Brooke and her friend wanted it to be done. She reasoned it must be done!
Hope helped retrieve the cake and place it on the counter to cool.
And it wasn’t long until the cake imploded.
The cake couldn’t withstand the pressure of an undone center… and neither can we.
If we obsess over the cake and make it our whole focus, character atrophies. If we make growing in godliness our obsession and keep our focus on God, our character matures. And a mature character makes for a solid and well done center.
I thank God everyday for the no’s He’s graciously allowed and continues to allow in my life. I used to pray, “God, let me, let me, let me!”
I now pray, “God, please never let my success outgrow the character necessary to handle it.”
Indeed, it’s because God loves us, He sometimes says no.
What ‘no’ have you thanked God for lately?Leave a Comment