When God Says No

This weekend the long awaited movie War Room made its appearance on screen in theaters everywhere. In anticipation of the arrival, I read the book that this movie was based on. There is no doubt that this beautiful story is one of the most inspiring ones that I have ever read and deeply touched my heart. And this post is not to dismiss the power of that movie, but to look at it in a different light.

What if you have been in your own war room praying for something so important agonizing for the answer that you want and God’s answer to your prayer is not “yes” but “no“?

This is where I found myself over six years ago. As my husband lay in a hospital bed in our living room, I would slip into our bedroom and get down on the floor where I would weep as I begged God to please heal his body. After a time in prayer, I would wipe away my tears, wash my face, and then continue to hold onto hope that I would get the answer that I so desired. But, it did not happen that way. In fact, when I finally came to the point where I was able to say, “Ok, God. I realize that there is nothing else that I can do to help Bob get better.  He is all yours now to heal” that God did heal him. Within an hour of my praying that prayer fully expecting that my husband’s full recovery here on this earth would begin, just the opposite happened. Yes, God healed him, but not in the way that I was praying. God gave Bob total and complete healing in heaven where he would never ever be sick again.

So, what now? Was all of that time that I spent in my own personal war room in vain? I am the type of person who will follow the rules. Bob used to say that if someone told me to jump, I would ask them “How high?” Had I done something wrong? Was the way that I had lived my life for God not good enough to warrant the answer to prayer that I was wanting? Had I not done everything that I could in order to allow his body to heal? Was my faith not great enough? Was his death my fault?

These are all questions that I had to process through over and over and over again for a very long time. Not getting the answer to my prayer that I wanted was a crushing blow to me as a person and to my faith in God. I’ll go a little further than that and say that for a time I was angry with God and felt ashamed for that anger because I did not want to displease Him. You can see what a vicious circle I was running around.

Finally, when God knew that I was ready, two different scriptures flashed like neon lights in front of me:

My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!…” Psalm 139:15-16

“A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”  Job 14:5

Can you see what a blessing those scriptures were to me and how they took the burden of Bob’s death off my shoulders and let me off the hook?! I truly did do all that I could do for him. I was the best caretaker that I could have been. My love for him was enough. I was not in charge of the length of his days because God had determined that before Bob was ever born. There was nothing more that I could have done to keep him here with me on this earth.

My time in my own personal war room had not been wasted because it was a time that God worked on my heart to finally fully surrender my husband to Him. And, it’s been a time these last almost six years where I have walked through the fire of questioning my faith and my life of following God and found so many new truths in God’s Word that I never really saw before. It’s been and continues to be a time of real warfare for me as a widow and a Christ follower and I am still steady on the course of not throwing my hands up and turning my back on God.

So, whether or not your war room experience results in the answer to prayer that you want or not, I can testify that it will very powerfully change your life. What about you? What have you experienced as a result of time spent in your war room?