When God Says No

Posted in For Leaders, Young Adults on October 4th

When God Says No

by Mandy DeHart


In November of 2017, my husband and I moved to his home-state to plant a church.  We were excited, full of faith, and ready to fulfill our mission.  However, once we moved to the area the “no’s” began appearing around every corner.  The doors that began to close were more than we could count.  After 8 months of desperately attempting to simply get onsite, we met with our pastor and his wife for a difficult conversation.  We asked, “at what point do we stop trying?”  The four of us decided to pray and fast about what steps to take next.  A couple of weeks later, we met with them again.  At this point, my husband and I felt no peace or resolve about the situation.  We felt as if we had clearly received a “no” from God.  When we met with our pastor, he confirmed our inclination by saying he felt the same way.  We had heard a distinct “no.”

Almost a year and a half prior, our pastor spoke this phrase to us:

“Sometimes, God calls a man to a city to build a church, and other times He calls a man to a city to build a man.” 

In our case, the latter was undeniably true.  Our “no” season was difficult.  There were many moments of questioning:  Why us?  Why this? Our desire was to plant a church – how could that possibly receive a “no”? Why are we now displaced, seemingly without purpose?

Yet, while we faced these questions and doubts, we also made a few very distinct decisions:  We would not let this ruin us.  We would keep an open line of communication with our pastor and spiritual leaders.  We would not let offense or bitterness creep into our hearts.  We would submit.  We would continue to do what we knew to do until God gave us our next assignment.  We would trust God’s “no.”

I wish I could tell you that the Lord has given us divine instruction for what steps to take next.  But, He hasn’t.  We are waiting, seeking, and trusting Him day by day.  When His timing is right, we trust that the right door will open.

In the meantime, God has called us to a city to build a man and a woman; to further refine us into His image.  While our initial plan was to plant a church, we have experienced invaluable growth and a life unexpected.  We have watched the Lord provide for us in miraculous ways.  We have experienced healing we didn’t know we needed.  Our faith has deepened, our trust anchored, and our character tested.  We have gone back to the basics of our faith.  Our “no” has become the very thing that is shaping us.

Perhaps the most interesting element of our recent journey is that only a few weeks after we heeded to our “no,” we discovered that I was pregnant with identical twins; twins that are now born and more beautiful than we could have imagined.  This was not an expected part of our journey, but truly a miraculous one of which we are unspeakably grateful.

I share this to encourage you that you are not alone in your journey.  God sees you, He knows exactly where you are, and your “no” could be the very catalyst that launches you into a season of the miraculous.  The choice is yours, for the factor that determines the outcome of this season will be your response.

Oftentimes, the “no’s” that we experience have less to do with the who, what, when, where and why of the “no” and more to do with our response.  It is our response that will expose the true condition of our hearts.  Simply put, being submissive to spiritual authority has less to do with the one to whom you are submitting and more to do with the posture of your heart.

If you are currently in a “no” season, here are some questions to consider for reflection:

  1. How have I responded to disappointment or offense?
  2. Do I view the “no” as protection and something for which I should be grateful? Or do I view it as punishment?
  3. If my response to “no” is offense, how have I handled that?
  4. Does my response to “no” align with God’s Word?

We are human, meaning we are not, nor will we ever be perfect.  Our responses will not always be blameless but when our responses are less than ideal, we have the ability to submit our flesh to God through prayer and fasting.  The most important question we must repeatedly ask ourselves is, “does my response align with God’s Word?”  Until our answer becomes an honest “yes,” we must continually put our flesh and desires under subjection to God’s Word and way.

If we have a heart that is open to correction and willing to submit when it is not in alignment with our personal desires, God can then use us to fulfill His purpose for our lives knowing that we will submit to His will, no matter the cost.

Perhaps your season of “no” is an opportunity for God to do a work in your life greater than you could possibly imagine.  I encourage you today to trust your heavenly Father and trust your leaders. Their position in your life is anointed and appointed by God, and your submission will position you to walk in your God-given destiny.

What will you do when God says “no”?

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17 






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