Sometimes God’s Answer is NO

I don’t think I have spent my life praying for the ridiculous or the absurd, but I admit that I have often prayed for  divine favors that are just not going to happen.  I’ve been like an insolent, selfish child making demands for things that I want, but that I guess, as I walk away with head down and shoulders slumped, I don’t need.

My prayers too often sounded like this:

“Lord, please take away the parts of life that are hard.”

“Lord, please keep our family perfectly healthy and happy.”

It’s not that I think God isn’t listening, but I think, and especially recently, that sometimes God’s answer is simply “no”.  I imagine that, just like I know my answer to my kids’ pleading for extra cookies just before bedtime is not going to be what they hope, He listens to my pleadings patiently, knowing all the while that the answer is no.   He knows about the plan for my life, and even though I still think I’m in control, it is the selfish child in me who wants to orchestrate the plan alone…and starting with my pleadings.

Lately my prayers have been even more specific:

“Lord, please make this pain go away.”

“Lord, please give me a clear and distinct sign about what you want me to do with my life.”

Today was arguably one of my worst days in a while.  I anxiously anticipated the MRI report from my doctor. I wanted to know the information so that I could start making plans to make myself better. It wasn’t the report that I had expected, and some things are going to have to change in my life.  My back is not in good shape, and some of what is wrong, cannot be treated.  I have two bulging disks and a number of mildly herniated disks., indicating a condition I have likely had since childhood.   The MRI did not take pictures of the upper part of my back, but the report suggested that in all likelihood I have similar herniated and compromised disks higher on my spine.  

“So, what does that mean?”  I asked.
“Well, it means that when you exercise strenuously, you are going to hurt, and you are suffering from a flare-up with your bulging disks.”
“Oh, I could have told you that, but we can make it stop hurting right?”
“The pain can be managed, but it is dependent upon what sorts of things you do, if you are ever going to be without pain,” she looks at me knowingly.
I sit quietly for a minute.
“So, I can run right?”
“You can, but it’s probably not a great idea. Swimming would probably be good for you.  Walking. Yoga.  And try to avoid anything that you have to twist because that is going to make you hurt the worst.”

I make mental notes of the things I do that include twisting: soccer, hockey in the basement, golf, tennis, aerobics.

I cried my way home, talking to my family about the fact that I am not going to be the golf/tennis playing senior citizen that I had hoped.  Beyond that, I know that I can no longer keep trying to do the things I have always done.

My mom pointed out that I have writing to fall back on if I cannot do what I love to do physically, and I reluctantly agreed.  The physical and the philosophical are both such important parts of who I am, that I don’t want to give up on either.

I think to myself, “well, maybe this is the sign I’ve been looking for as an answer to my question about what I should do with my life.”

Then I came home to find rejection letter number two for my book proposal.

Awesome.

Ok Lord, so your answer about an easy fix to pain relief…no.  A clear sign about what to do with my life…no.  But I know in my heart of hearts that God’s answer does not end there.  I know he is whispering…”not now, but I’ll tell you what you need to know later. Just trust in me.”

6 thoughts on “Sometimes God’s Answer is NO

  1. I totally know what you mean and it can be very frustrating at times. I have experienced these feelings so much it almost felt like I wrote this blog! Hold onto your faith and remember God has plans for you that are perfect and will make sense when it happens! Keep your chin up!

  2. Wow… I know you'll look back on this time and know that it has made you stronger and into the person you are to become. Infact something incredible may come to you because of these incidents and you'll say, "If I hadn't had back problems this joy in my life would never have come." I love this Kahlil Gibran quote:"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.And how else can it be?The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."By the way, I self published my book! I wasn't going to wait! Come see more at http://www.zen-mama.com.

  3. Thank you for writing this blog post. I have been thinking some of these same thoughts myself. I just keep thinking, "My plans are not God's plans." I will keep you in my prayers, and keep your eyes out for the next little joy God gives you to enjoy today!

  4. Oh Meagan, I can relate to this post on so many levels! My hubs and I have always been very physically active. But now he is suffering from the exact same back situation as you. As for me–too many different annoying physical ailments to include in this short comment.But as much as it seems like God isn't listening, or giving us the answer we want (or that we're advising him we want! ;o) We know God is good and understands what is best for us, even when it doesn't seem like it at the moment. He sees the big picture that we can't. Keep writing, praying, and doing whatever type of physical exercise you can. That's what I'm doing. And I'm sure that eventually we'll look back and realize we were hearing that still, small voice all along.

  5. Oh Meagan, I just want to drive to you ad give you a hug. It's so hard to hear what we shouldn't do. It makes us want to do it more. And you're right the physical activity is an important part of it all. I used to be a runner, and I loved it. But when I was in high school, I tore a ligament in my knee and did what every high school student who just made varsity does … I made due with the injury. Now, I can't run at all. I've been told by doctors each time I re-injure it that there will be a knee replacement in my future. I was told not to do anything that would put pressure on it, so I because a kick boxer (bullheaded?) an you can imagine how that went…One good thing is that you do have writing as an outlet, but there are still physical activities you can do. You may not be the tennis playing retired golfer, but you could be the hot grandma who does yoga on her front lawn and still looks hot in a bikini. Keep your chin up. God has something great planned for you. He may not answer when we want Him to, but His answer always arrives just when we need most. Big hugs, Meagan, from the Unscripted house. I'll be praying for you. Keep faith. God will show you the way.

  6. Meagan,Oh how I long to have one of our deep, inspiring, encouraging talks. You are truly an inspiration and I really miss you! Keep your eyes on the One who loves you and cares so deeply for you, hurts with you, and yet knows what is best for you…..even when it doesn't make sense at the time. Love you girl!Hollie Hollie

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