Saying no to God

April 9th, 2015


February, 2015~

It occurs to me that I have the power to say no to You.  If I guard certain areas of life with my “NO” sign, I can ensure that certain tragedies will never happen to me.

There have been times I’ve begged for a yes from You when You were saying no to me.  But I have not contemplated a deliberate, even rebellious, self-protective no to You before, and the taste of it is bitter as it rolls around in my mouth and soul.

“Don’t spend emotional energy on a theoretical situation,” says my counselor.  “Don’t worry about what He may never ask of you.”

“I’m not worried,” says my husband. “You have never said, ‘No,’ to God when He has actually come and asked you to do something.” 

But I’m increasingly tormented by my uneasy awareness of this palpable rift between me and my Maker.

I don’t want to be a rebel against You.  The cry of my heart is to be an open, unqualified yes to You again.

But I find my flesh quivering and shrinking back at the contemplation of more pain.

I cannot say it.  I cannot.  Not a trusting, unqualified yes, like I’d said before You pulled the rug out from under me.

It’s limbo.  Terrified to say no and terrified to say yes.  Terrified You’ll ask it of me, and terrified You’ll never ask it of me again.

I’m stuck.  I just want it to be how it was before and it never will be again.


And then…

A request, an opportunity to help another adoptive family.  Work for me to do that I thought I could never do again.

And the “Yes,” immediately rose up within me.  “If You open this door for us, I want to walk through it.”


And then…

Jolting news from Pleven.  More work for me to do that I thought I could never do again.

“Yes, Lord.”


And then…

As I listened to the book of Job and then of Revelation, I heard the God of the universe thundering from eternity past to eternity future, “I am bringing about My will.  This is not about you.”

“Yes, Lord.”


And then…

Corrie ten Boom on Youtube!  Really? The woman of all women I most want to meet in heaven one day.  I find a short snippet to watch quickly.

She was speaking about her inability to forgive.  My heart–or was it the Holy Spirit?–translated it into my inability to say yes to God.

“And I could not…I was not able!  I could not!  I could only [say no]!

‘I thank You, Father, that Your [power is greater than my terror]!’

That moment, I was free.

Can you [make yourself trust God]?


I can’t either.

But He can!”


And then, just as February was turning into March…

The Drop Box.  Somehow Pastor Lee went from the trauma of finding his disabled child dead in his own home, frantically doing CPR and calling an ambulance, from saying this–

“If this is what it’s going to mean, I can’t do this job.”

–to courageously saying yes to God and being used by Him again.



So God, here’s my NO sign.  I can’t find my YES sign.  I’m very sorry, but there it is.  You know it’s impossible for me.

If You want that to change, You’re going to have to do it Yourself.  It’s too big for me, so I’m throwing it over to Your side of the fence and not worrying about it any more.

Thank You for showing me that I am not the point, my desires are not the point, my opinions are not the point, my emotions are definitely not the point although they try to be, my strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and inabilities are not the point.

You are.

You have done, are doing, and will do what You have willed, and it is always right, because You are good and cannot make mistakes.

You are worthy of praise.

That is the point.


…I guess I’ll text and let him know he can bring his kids over here in good weather to play outdoors after all…






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11 Responses to “Saying no to God”

  1. Tricia says:

    That sounds like a good step to get rid of the “no” sign. :) I sometimes find myself on a pendulum swinging from “it’s all about me” (and what my preferences in how I serve God are) to “I’m nothing” (so how could He use me?), unable to find balance even though I know that neither extreme is true. Jesus didn’t die for “nothing” and nothing is impossible for God, but yet I don’t really have the final say in what God decides to do with my life once I place it in His hands–He knows best and His ways are higher than mine.

    Speaking of yes or no, it occurred to me that if God hadn’t given us free will, then we would have nothing at all to give Him. Everything we have, including our very lives and our free will, are gifts from Him. It’s our choice if we want to honor Him with it and allow Him to use it for His glory or not. He never forces us to do anything. It’s our privilege to use what He gave us to make it into a gift for Him or not. It reminds me of when kids use their allowance to buy a Father’s Day or birthday present–he actually paid for his own present, but didn’t tell the kids they had to use their allowance to buy him anything. Maybe not the best analogy since my point isn’t about just money, but anyway…

  2. Cassandra says:

    No great wisdom from me other than to tell you that I completely understand the almost torturous limbo you are describing. Add guilt and shame to that and we could bury ourselves. I realize those two emotions are not of the Lord but it’s where I go to in my less disciplined state of mind.

    How do you categorize what happened to Tommy in your own mind? The incident, the accident, the mistake, the unthinkable, the moment, the inevitable….. the the the the What? Do you blame yourself, do you blame God, do you blame the world or do you blame nobody at all? Do you find it easier to cope with mistakes other people make even if they harm you or do you find it easier to forgive yourself if you’ve made the mistake? Or do you think every moment was pre-ordanined and you were part of a grand plan that you ultimately had no control over?

    I ask you with no expectation or malice. I find it helpful to hear other people’s thinking process when life is not what they expected.


  3. Abbie Caple says:

    We all have the capability to deliberately say no to God…but His grace is so good…changing our hearts. I am forever grateful that He loves the broken sinner that I am.

  4. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, yes to all of those options and more depending on where my emotions are at any given time. What helps me most when my emotions are haywire is this simple statement of fact: I did not choose for Tommy to die that day, God did.

    I don’t mind more discussion than that with you, my friend, but we’d need to take it to email.

  5. Kim says:

    Dear Susanna, this is one of your best posts yet! Born out of the fiery furnace. Our Father loves it when we’re not willing, yet we are willing to be MADE willing. He can work with that! And He will. So much love sent your way, and prayers going up for you.

  6. Kim says:

    PS~one of my fave scriptures came to mind as I was praying for you:

    For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil 2:13

  7. Dana says:

    The Matthew West song “Strong Enough” came to my mind when I read this post.
    You must
    You must think I’m strong
    To give me what I’m going through

    Well, forgive me
    Forgive me if I’m wrong
    But this looks like more than I can do
    On my own

    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not stong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    For the both of us

  8. Angie says:

    My first thought when I read your post was Jesus’s prayer,” Father if there be any other way let this cup pass from me. Never the less, your will be done. ”
    My heart tosses back and forth between “does He work that way or does He not” and I get so confused thinking of scenarios. It’s wrecked me at times. But the thing God has shown me is how to trust without understanding exactly how it all works. To remember He is the creator of the universe. His way is so high above mine I cannot comprehend (thankful for that!). And to remember Corrie Ten Boom’s analogy of the embroidery. On the back it was just a mess. But on the front it was a beautiful crown. I can’t wait to get to heaven and see the other side where all of the threads connect. :)

  9. Lori says:

    I can so identify with this post, Susanna–although I am sorry you are having to deal with this hard place! I feel I disappoint God at times because I don’t easily say “Yes, Lord!” Big changes scare me…I am, much to my dismay, a creature of habit. And in some instances, I find the “habit of the familiar” comforting. But I want to GROW! I want to be USEFUL to my community, to my people and most importantly to the Lord. I want to use my pain for purpose. And yet I can’t if I do not venture PAST the pain. And so I’m a work in progress–much like all of us I suppose. In my situation, I am trying to put my past as a survivor of long term sexual abuse to good use. I want to turn something that was sort of a tragedy in my life to a triumph in the lives of others. But it’s hard when you can’t get out of your own way and let God be who He is and that is BIGGER than ALL of it! I trust you will get there, Susanna–to wherever you need to be and whatever that looks like because you are a Godly woman, strong (even at the broken places) and loving! Praying for you and sending you a hug!

  10. Mel says:

    Dear Susanna, so wonderful for me to read your words because they so aptly describe EXACTLY where I am at too a good 3 1/2 years out from our EVENT. (my second daughter 5th child passed away just weeks before she was due to be born). I’m in that same place that same LIMBO place with that same complete inability to of my own will TRUST God. Again…..I have nothing really helpful to offer except after reading your words I got up and I got in the shower and I was thinking…. I was thinking how you and I both seem to think of God as our support our THING the thing that kept us from real harm or real suffering, analogous maybe to a bridge spanning the huge abyss that is life full of children and hope and risk and love. And this bridge, God, is holding us up and us so confident and trusting and walking on our bridge full of faith and full of hope. And then, one day, the bridge just fails. It breaks off from the other side, the end pitches down steeply and we are cast down with it until we free fall….
    Free fall away come everything that we held onto. And I was thinking really? I mean how does someone recover from that? How GOD can you expect either of us to step out there again? I mean really???? YOU DROPPED US!!!! And as I stood there in the shower it came to me that maybe…maybe God is NOT the bridge….maybe God IS the free fall into the abyss. Maybe we are just wrong about what God is. I don’t really know….with love Mel

  11. Jenny Watson says:


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