Do you feel like God is saying “No” to you? What can you take away from this that can help you?

Yesterday, the sermon at church was this very topic, and I thought it was so interesting, I’d share it here on this web site with a few additions of my own.

When God Says “NO”

In the book of Acts, Paul wanted to travel to Asia on his second missionary journey, but God told him “no.” In fact, God had to tell him “no” twice.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 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: 6-7 (NIV).

Why does God say “no” to us?

The pastor said there was four reasons. And he used the letter “P” so that it would be easier to remember. They are: Protection, Preparation, Prosperity, and Punishment. Here are some examples from the bible:


In the Christmas story of Joseph picking up and going to Egypt (Matthew 2:13) is one example of protection. I’m sure Joseph didn’t want to take the trip, but it was for the protection of his family that he should leave.


Sometimes, we are not ready for what God has in store for us, and he puts us on hold. The story of Daniel, where he had to wait three years for his chance to serve the king is a good example of this. God was still preparing him for the task ahead.


The story of Job is a good example of where God wanted to bless him. And in the end, he had much more wealth than when he started.


The story of Moses, not being allowed to entry the promised land is a story of punishment.


There is a Fifth “P”


There is another reason that God says “no” to you. And that is when he says: Pleeease – This is not about you.”

It is God’s “Purpose.”

Our egos are pretty big, and we somehow think that all the decisions God makes for us are “about us.”

But that is not true. Many times, God’s decisions are about advancing his Kingdom.

This is often the case in the bible, and there are numerous examples. Joseph and Mary escaping to Egypt, the Magi being told to bypass going back to King Herod, and even Paul being told not to go into Asia on his second missionary journey. All these are stories of God’s Purpose.

God has his own plans, and many times we are just bit players. This is important to remember, especially when we pray the Lord’s Prayer and get to that part that goes: “thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”

In effect, our prayer has been answered. God is doing his will, just as we requested. Now who say’s that God doesn’t answer prayers.

Our Response When God Says “No.”

When King David was told by God that he wasn’t allowed to build the Temple, his response is a good example of what we should do:

  1. Praise God (1 Chronicles 29:10-12)
  2. Give Thanks (1 Chronicles 29:13-16
  3. Pray for those that will carry on the task, and encourage them to continue on. (1 Chronicles 29:19)

Look… we’re not always going to see the results of God’s plan. But his plan nearly always involves the participation of others, and they do need the hand of God on them. So pray for them, as David prayed for Solomon.

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. 1 Chronicles 22:13 (NIV)

Please note: I am praying for you right now. I don’t know why God wanted me to write this article today, because I wasn’t feeling up to it on my own. But I felt a tug on my spirit to pray for you. So: do not be afraid or discouraged, because God is with you, even when he tells you “no.”   

The “No” Now, Means a “Yes” later

The pastor that gave the sermon said something at the end that I do agree with. When God says “No” and we are obedient to that, it sets us up for a “Yes” response later on.

God wants our obedience. It is a sign of trust and faith in him.

So being able to accept the “no” response now, tells him that he can trust us in the future. That is huge. It means there will be a “yes” response in the future.

On a personal note, I’m here to say that as an employer, finding trustworthy people is hard to do. When you do, you are going to give them what they want, because they are willing to work for you. I think that is God’s perspective too.

Trust is what is it all about. In fact, trust and obedience is the foundation on how to make money, God’s way.


Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Daniel Hastings

    Hello Mr. Van Milligan,

    Thank you very much for sharing this, as it has helped affirm that God is telling me “no” about interning this summer. Last fall I was contacted by XCOR with (judging by their wording) an informal offer to intern with them Jan-June. Since I was on a project through the end of the school year (USLI) I asked if they would consider me for a June-Dec internship. They said that would be fine, and that an engineer would contact me mid-April to talk details. Come this April, it turns out that there had been over 100 new applicants since then, and I “didn’t quite make the cut.”

    Now I have no direction or plan for this summer, and am leaning fully on His guidance. One lesson that I’ve learned from this experience is not to put all of my eggs in one basket, so to speak. But whatever the case, I keep trusting in God that he would open up a door in the future.

    Thanks again for sharing this, I appreciated it.


  • http://msn joan

    thank you for the last part, trust and obediance, do you think god won;t bless me if i smoke, when poeple keep telling me i have to quite,or i fall short of the glorey of god. i no i have to quite its very hard.