How to be Thankful when the answer is 'no'.

Come on, you know you’ve been there. Trying to find the good when you didn’t get what you wanted. You prayed for something. You pleaded. It was Scripturally promised. You thought for sure God was going to deliver. And then—boom. It’s ripped out from underneath you. Your dreams shatter at your feet. You’re disappointed. You’re hurt. And if you’re being honest, you’re a little angry.

I dare say, we’ve all felt this way one time or another. It’s hard to understand why, a loving God, would withhold joy from us. I mean, Scriptures tell us that joy is characteristic of His people (Galatians 5:22-23), and we’re His people, right? Yes…but do we understand that joy is not the same thing as happiness? Happiness is fickle, temporary. It is determined by circumstances—an emotion of the heart. [And the heart is deceitful. (Jeremiah 17:9)] Happiness disappears when troubles arise (Lamentations 3:17). Joy is everlasting, despite the hardship. Despite the disappointment.

Joy is everlasting, despite the hardship. Despite the disappointment.

You see, God doesn’t promise that He’ll always give us what we want. He promises that He’ll listen to our wants (Proverbs 15:29, 1 John 5:14). He cares about our cares, because He cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). But, because He cares about us, He may not always give us what we want. Sometimes things aren’t going to go the way we hope or plan, regardless of how biblical or desperate our plea is. Sometimes God’s answer to us will be a resounding ‘No’. It’s important to remember that our lives belong to Him, not ourselves (Psalm 100:3, Romans 14:8, 1 Corinthians 6:19). And when He doesn’t allow something that we want, no matter the hurt and disappointment, we must trust that His plans are the very best for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Find joy in the fact that He loves us so much that He doesn’t always give us what we want. He loves us so much that He allows us to have such desires, and teaches us through our pain. That is what joy is. Joy is finding peace through the pain.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

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