When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:7, NIV)

Typically, we don’t like hearing “No” – yet we hear it often in life.

As children, we hear “No” when grabbing cookies before dinner, attempting to shove keys into an electrical socket, or watching television past bedtime.

As teenagers, we hear “No” when asking to drive, auditioning for a musical group, or asking someone to the prom.

As young adults, we hear “No” when applying for a job, proposing marriage, or buying a house.

As older adults, we hear “No” when caught speeding, trying to get on an overbooked flight, or seeking an elusive promotion.

Even aged adults cannot escape the “No” when no longer able to safely drive, asking to live with one of their children instead of an adult care facility, or pleading with doctors for additional remedies for terminal illnesses.

Unfortunately, we’ve lost respect for the underlying reasons of “No.” Granted, sometimes a “Yes” is much more gratifying; however, even an affirmative response can still bring negative consequences. For example, if your dad said, “Sure, son, go ahead and stick that key into the electrical socket,” you will probably wish he hadn’t granted your desire!

There are trustworthy reasons behind “No” when it comes from a loving and protective source. Instead of rebelling against it, learn to embrace it and trust our sovereign, loving God to orchestrate the events, circumstances, and outcomes of your life—even when He says, “No.”

Just as a loving parent knows a child needs proper nutrition and rest—and protection from dangerous desires—our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us.

A “No” to your marriage proposal may be God protecting you from someone unhealthy, untrustworthy, or incompatible with your life purpose. A rejected real estate contract may be God keeping you from a money pit or a potentially bad neighborhood with unforeseen depreciating values. Not being granted a desired promotion may be God safeguarding you against longer hours or work addiction.

When you fully trust God’s sovereign control over your life, even “No” responses have purpose. Usually God’s “No” signifies a far greater “Yes” on your horizon. In time, you will understand He is reliable, loving, and intentional in His design and direction for you.

Learn to respect the “No.”