WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

If you have been following this blog, over the last month or so (Thank You…BTW), you would know that my wife, Lauri Lee, and I were in Myrtle Beach last month for a few weeks looking at some condos that could be a nice place for our “winter getaways” and a vacation destination for family and friends. It is something we have been considering doing for five or six years, since I retired from full-time employment. We have looked at numerous places in Florida, as well as places in South Carolina like Lake Marion, Hilton Head and of course, Myrtle Beach.  We liked many of these locations, but Myrtle Beach seemed to “check all the boxes” for us and our family….one day drive…oceanfront…pleasant weather and lots of fun things to see and do. We thought it would be a great place to retreat and refresh..and cultivate some great family memories.

During this trip, we looked at a number of oceanfront condos, and we found two that we liked well enough to put an offer on. The first one was owned by someone with very serious health issues (in fact he was in the hospital at the time of our offer), so we never got a response to our offer. After waiting nearly a week, we looked at the second one which turned out to be really nice. We put an offer on that one, too, and after a few back and forths, we agreed on a sale price. So we headed home to get the funds together and we talked to a numbers of lenders who gave us their conditional “pre-approval”. We settled on putting an application in with the bank we have done business with for over twenty years. We were just going to increase an existing credit line (home equity) to make up the difference. Again, we were told it would most likely be no problem. We were excited.

On Sunday, Lauri Lee gets an email telling us our application has been denied. What??  I thought everything looked good, so did Lauri.  The bank just decided that since we were both retired now, we did not have enough income to justify that amount of increase. And sadly, they refused to include Lauri’s income from her rental properties, which we thought was unfair. But OK..fine..whatever. There you have it, the story of why the deal for the condo in MBSC fell through, at least that is the physical side of it.

But, of course as believers in God, we do not base our life just on the physical. There is also the spiritual ramifications to consider. We do our best to always “Commit our ways to the Lord…” and do “nothing of our own initiative,” just as Jesus does with His Father. We know God gives good things to His children. And, of course, we believe that He is a sovereign God, one who created all things and to whom all things belong, even you and me. So, it would be literally unthinkable for us to pursue something of this magnitude without first putting it in God’s hands and trusting Him with the outcome, no matter what.

Here is one of my favorite Bible verses, written by King David, a “man after God’s own heart”:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains; The world, and those who dwell in it.” [Psalm 24:1 NASB]

That seems pretty clear to me. Of course, I grew up in a home where my father often said, “Well, as long as you are living under my roof, you will abide by my rules.” So it is fair to say that I understood the concept of living within the boundaries set by a higher authority. That’s not to say that I never crossed them, but when I did, you bet there were consequences. LOL 

But of course, living under the authority of a “higher power” is not just about following or breaking rules. That is only one side of the coin. There are also great blessings and protections that come from being in relationship with a higher authority…be it a parent, a boss, the government, a pastor or even God, Himself. And that is the part that I am most thankful for.  

God blessed me with great parents. I have had some great teachers, some great bosses and some amazing “men of God” in my life…all of whom looked out for me and had my best interest at heart. They listened to my questions and complaints, at times, and had great advice for me while at the same time, setting positive examples for me to emulate. I honestly do not know where I would be, today, without them. And that is without even mentioning how blessed I was to be born in the greatest country in the history of the world. May God Bless America…and speaking of God, Himself…none of us would be here in the first place had He not desired to create a universe and a world for us all to live in. In fact my entire first book, “Unlocking Creation,” was all about that. So I won’t spend a lot of time on it here.

So OK, back to the subject at hand. If God was leading us towards buying this place in Myrtle Beach, why would He not allow the financing to go through? If we have been praying through all of these decisions for the last five or six years, why would we hit a wall now? Did God suddenly change His mind? Does He maybe know something that we don’t (there’s a “laugher”…ya think)?  Was He not involved in our searching and planning? Did He not hear all of our prayers? We thought we were looking to Him for direction in all of this. Why is He “tapping the breaks” now, just as we were about to arrive at our destination?

I am a long-time country music fan and when I have these kinds of questions, I tend to agree with so many other country music lovers who say, “In Garth We Trust” (just kidding, not getting sacreligious here). So many of his songs have such great messages. That is what I love most about country music, the words.  In 1990, Garth released an album called “No Fences,” and on this album was a song that actually was made into a movie some years later called, “Unanswered Prayers.” 

Here are the key words from this country classic:

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers

Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs

That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

Sure, when we pray, we do not always get answers…at least not the ones we want. The song is about a guy who goes to a high school football game with his wife and he bumps into his old girlfriend from “back in the day,” and he instantly realizes how thankful he is now, that God did not grant his wishes back then. Even though at the time, he wanted it more than anything in the world. He realized that although he did not see it then, God had something much better in store for him. Had God answered those teenage prayers, which were sincere and fervent, he would have missed out on something much, much better (and his wife agrees…lol).

Our pastor, Dr. Jim Mindling, has a really great way of explaining the problem of unanswered prayers, or even what I might call “wrong-answered prayers”. He says it this way, “When God says ‘No’ or even ‘not yet,’ it is because He has a greater ‘Yes’ in mind for us.” I believe that with all my heart. If we say we believe in God, we need to trust that He knows best. He sees parts of the puzzle that we cannot see. He’s looking at the bigger picture and I am thankful for that. I believe it’s best to defer to His will in the matters of this life. Why wouldn’t we? He sees all. We don’t. I think we call that “having faith.”

So while it is true that God said, “No,” to our plans at this time, we truly believe there is a greater “Yes,” in the offing…..even if we do not see it at this time.

We trust You, Lord…Thy will be done.

And in that, there is much comfort, much peace.

It is so much better than trying to do it all on our own.

Been there, done that…..NO, THANK YOU!!!!!

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