WHAT ABOUT “NO!” I think that sometimes we are afraid to ask Jesus for help because we have already decided for Him that He is going to say “no!” (which we label as a bad thing). with finality; end of story. Second-guessing Him seems to me something we would be better off not doing. However, He can and does say no on some occasions and we need to think things through in order to respond to His will, not ours. I spent years arguing with God about everyday issues. One good thing about that was that I was certainly not a Sunday-only Christian (I considered myself to be a Christian). I feel sad now that I was so feisty with Him when He truly had my best interests at heart. I was so convinced that I was not good enough for Him and He was watching my every move with total disapproval. I knew, on some level, that He loved me, but it was a kind of love with which I was not comfortable. If anyone asked me if Jesus loved us, I’d be the first to say so. Perhaps I believed that since He loved me, I could behave however I wanted, and He would understand and accept me. I realize now that He accepted me but not some of my behavior. When He does say no to us, it is not necessarily the end of the story. He may have alternative ideas up the sleeve of His robe to present to us at another time when we are ready. In many instances, I think He says “not now” as often as a resounding no. Or, perhaps “not in the way you expect,” could be another way He answers us. It still surprises and pleases me that of all people, He took the time and made the effort to downright rescue me! I was not expecting it in the least. What further surprises me is how I actually allowed Him, with almost no protest, to be guided to the right church for me and to the healing surgery performed last year. Because I am somewhat strong-willed (and He knows it) I have not been so pliable about every issue or situation that has come up in my life or the lives around me, since my Salvation. Because some humans in my upbringing did not exactly have my best interests at heart, it is still at times difficult for me to truly understand how very much Jesus does have my best interests at heart–all of our best interests at heart. So I could not trust some humans. This does not mean that I cannot trust God. I still need to work on understanding how He is not just a superhuman; He is so much more than that. He is not limited by human pettiness and adolescent behavior coming from humans who are chronologically adults. Judging Jesus in imperfect human terms is neither accurate nor wise. When He says “no” “maybe,” “sometime,” “later,” “I have other ideas,” “wait and see,” and an infinite array of answers that are not exactly a resounding “yes,” we would do well to, as the Beatles sang “let it be.” When He has said the equivalent of “no” to me, fortunately He has never followed it with “because I said so.” Such an answer would really bug me and cause me to think He was being a control freak rather than looking out for the best for me. I so appreciate His gentleness, kindness and quietness with me. However, (I may have told you this before), one Sunday, our Bishop said, “Jesus is not a declawed lion.” That stuck with me first, because it was a catly expression; which, of course, I connect with. But it also reminded me to consider that, like my “miniature lions” at home, (who have claws and teeth and they will use them if necessary), so Jesus will get tough with us if He needs to. I remember one of my many night-owl nights, He told me to go to bed and I felt like I was being propelled to my bedroom. I said “not yet,” and He reminded me that I had asked Him to help me get to bed at a decent time so I could get more rest. Though He was saying no to my staying up way too late, He was honoring my request. When we ask Him for help, we need to be willing to accept that help when it comes, often in a variety of ways. Yes, He may sometimes say “No” and no, He will not always say “yes.” However, he is watching over us at all times, with a benevolent heart, mind and soul, and how blessed we are! In Jesus’ name.

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