Why did God say "No"?
Why, when He ordered you with Fatherly ferociousness to let your requests be made known unto Him, did He turn around and say no?
Why would a loving Father smash your hopes and dreams about the one thing you know would make you happy?
Dr. Tom is a man uniquely suited to missionary life in Cambodia. He has an obsession with sharing the Gospel and the medical skills necessary to garner a hearing in villages up and down the riverbanks and dirt roads of one of the world's poorest nations. Furthermore, in a country where you can step outside your kitchen door and find yourself face to face with a venomous viper poised to attack (as he has done), it is helpful if you have been a "snake handler" in a former life. Dr. Tom learned snakes early on. Before God sent him to Asia, he did school demonstrations about snakes.
So when one blistering morning in Cambodia opened with a shriek from the second story that heralded the presence of a snake (in the trashcan, of all places), Dr. Tom ran to his wife's rescue. It ended up being the snake's rescue. That snake had gotten a little too cozy with a baby diaper and the sticky fastener of the diaper had stuck to its scales. The poor thing was having a hard time wriggling across the floor with that heavy diaper attached.
Missionary life is full of humorous moments.
We were their short-termers for the summer. Since neither my husband nor Dr. Tom's wife were willing to help out with the surgical procedure necessary to separate diaper from snake, I happily volunteered.
You see, I have this strange quality: I like snakes. I like the way they squirm. I like the way they feel in my hands. I like their scaley, smooth sides. I think the way their little tongues go in and out is cute.
My husband hates them. He is far wiser than I am.
Truth be told, I only really like "safe snakes." I like snakes that I know are not poisonous, or snakes that I can handle without fear. I don't like a snake in the grass near my children's play area unless it is a teensy-tiny, science projecty, clearly non-poisonous one. Or a fake one made from clay.
And, no, I don't like snakes on my plate.
I wouldn't give my children a snake when they ask for fish for dinner. Would you?
Neither would God.
Jesus tells us that in Matthew 7:9-11: "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Children are foolish. In my last post I told a true tale about scissors and blood and small baby hands. Scissors are not a toy for babies. But they are a tremendous tool for those who have wisdom to use them wisely.
Which brings me to my second reason of why God may have said "no" to your object of desire: maybe it is not yet time. Maybe there is some maturing that needs to take place first.
Maybe you need to learn how to use the scissors.
Maybe God's answer wasn't "No." Maybe it was "Wait."
Trust your Father's wisdom. If He said "no," trust that when the red light finally becomes green, He has the sovereign ability to let you know.
Jim Elliot DID eventually get a green light to marry Elisabeth, although for a while there things seemed iffy. And that wait produced maturity in both of them and a book titled Passion and Purity. It also gave them both some independent time on their various mission fields and all the fruit and growth that can come with that (which then gave us the book These Strange Ashes).
Here is the goal: that we trust God to say "yes" or "no" or "wait." That we thank Him for red lights as well as green lights. Red lights prevent nasty crashes.
As I said in Part I, Sometimes We Ask For A Stone, God sees and knows all things. He knows what things are bread for us and what things are stones. He knows whether that is a fish we are asking for or a venomous viper.
He will not do you wrong.
Trust the heart of your Father.
MORE ABOUT GOD'S WILL:
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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