When Yes Means No

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1

I thanked God for the privilege of serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver during her battle against leukemia. When medicines began to hurt more than help, she decided to stop treatment. “I don’t want to suffer anymore,” she said. “I want to enjoy my last days with family. God knows I’m ready to go home.”

I pleaded with our loving heavenly Father—the Great Physician—confident He could work miracles. But to say yes to my mom’s prayers, He would have to say no to mine. Sobbing, I surrendered, “Your will be done, Lord.”

We can trust Him to answer every prayer according to His will.

Soon after, Jesus welcomed my mama into a pain-free eternity.

In this fallen world, we’ll experience suffering until Jesus returns (Rom. 8:22–25). Our sinful nature, limited vision, and fear of pain can distort our ability to pray. Thankfully, “the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (v. 27). He reminds us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (v. 28), even when His yes to someone else means a heartbreaking no for us.

When we accept our small part in His greater purpose, we can echo my mom’s watchword: “God is good, and that’s all there is to it. Whatever He decides, I’m at peace.” With confidence in the Lord’s goodness, we can trust Him to answer every prayer according to His will and for His glory.

God’s answers are wiser than our prayers.

INSIGHT:The theme of Romans 8 seems to be the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to set our minds on the Spirit (vv. 5–6), to see Him as vital to our spiritual identity (v. 9), to embrace His indwelling (v. 11), to follow His leading (v. 14), to see Him as assurance of our security in Christ (v. 16), and to rest in Him with our prayers (vv. 26–27). This theme is important to the life of God’s child because, as John wrote, “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13). The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is God’s promise of the future (Eph. 1:13) and His enabling for the present (Gal. 5:16). May we trust the Spirit to continue His wonderful work in us, making us more like the Jesus He came to honor (John 15:26).

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