When the Answer is No

Life goes on.

I storm and rage and weep into my pillow. I ask “why”, shed tears of loss, flail about in confusion. Grief breathes through my nostrils, slips down my cheeks at unexpected moments, colors days gray.

But love still lives.

Shattered heart still beats and blood pumps through these veins. I still cook the dinner, keep the appointments, fold the laundry…go to work in the morning.

Life goes on.

Night doesn’t turn into day, seasons fade from one into another, the earth continues its same well-worn path.

God is still God.

That never changes and what good will it do me to be angry at Him?

I am small. Wounded. Alone.

But not. Really.

The question screams at me in the dead of night: What will I do with this sorrow?

What now?

I can pretend a while. Wear this mask of courtesy.

In this brokenness, I feel Him soft. I pull away.

Leave me be, I say. But He never does.

I’m tired of you, my heart cries. Have mercy on who you want. Why is it never me?

And I know it’s not true but it feels true enough…right now…in this moment…when the answer is “no”.

I am Elijah, under his broom tree. I have had enough, Lord, I say.

When the angels come, they have no wings. Only gentle hands, gentle words, love.

These hands that feed and water–nourish my soul–these hands are flesh and blood. But they are holy. God rests in these palms. They hold Him out to me. I shy away at first. But I see Him there. Waiting. Filled with love.

He cares for me. That’s why He says “no” sometimes. I do this with my own children. I am a parent after all.

And this sorrow? What of it?

They say the recent earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of a day by 1.26 microseconds. The rotation of the earth is forever changed.

When world’s shake, life is never the same again. Bodies move differently around Axis. Sorrow shifts balance. Grief changes views.

Seeing beauty in the shift sometimes requires I see with God’s eyes. Beauty has many different faces. I believe sorrow may be one of the loveliest. God sees the heart. And a sorrowed heart carries much love.

When the answer is no…

Life goes on.
Love still lives.
God is still God.

And sorrow changes my view.

If I am not careful, I may miss the beauty. I may miss the best day of my life.

May your “nos” lead you to beauty, Beloved. May they lead you deeper into His embrace.


  1. says

    My facebook comment–

    Stunning… I have no words; interesting how our pain sometimes births the most beautiful words of faith we will ever write. This is a keeper, sister friend. Thanks for giving it to me on a day when I most needed the witness of its grace. Shalom!

  2. says

    AMEN. Through lots of NO’s and lots of pain I have grown closer to the LORD and come to realize when I get what I want sometimes it leads to destruction even when it seemed a good thing.
    Blessings, andrea

  3. says

    What to do when life happens…I’ve just started reading Strong Women, soft hearts because she seems to speak to this issue…I don’t recall who recommended it…..it is such an issue because we get so wrapped up in our “requests”, our “needs” that it does take a choice of how to respond when those no’s come….no one is immune. You should hear the crazy “talkin to myself” that I have until God and I get my gaze set back on the Truth that He knows more…there is much I will never get and I must find peace in abiding with Him. Sometimes that is a long process but I am learning to allow it full throttle and to not ignore the hurt in my heart…to take it to Him…allowing Him to absorb my tears and to relax in His arms….oh sweet peace. Praying you are finding sweet peace in those arms…..

  4. says

    Oh, it is so hard for this heart to see beauty in a disaster. All I can do is hear children crying, mothers screaming, men moaning, buildings twisting and my heart breaking.

    But, love does still live.

    Only because He lives! Doesn’t this make you want to tell strangers in line at the grocery store of God’s glory? Does it give you that sort of strength, from all our human weakness?

    Shouldn’t it?


  5. says

    I have felt these thoughts so beautifully written by you.

    Yet, our Lord is so faithful, He gives so much hope even when things seem impossible.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. And may you be blessed through doing so.

  6. says

    Oh Laura, I have walked this, continue to walk it. I am praying for you. For us there is really nowhere else to go – and it is a good place (even when the answer continues to be no and the heartbreak continues.). Todd had another flare up. I feel myself slipping back into the why and the rejection of the hand of the One who loves me. But there is no hope or peace there.
    You have written my heart.

  7. says

    My heart is sad for yours. I wish something to say to make the no a yes.
    How elegantly you pen your pain.

    I send love.

  8. says

    There is beauty here in your pain. I have lived four years of “no.” No and I are well acquainted.

    I got stuck (in a good way) on this phrase: “God is still God.” Each way I broke it down, it remained true:

    God is.
    God is still.
    God is still God.

  9. says

    Laura, so powerful. So achingly beautiful. I am sorry for your pain and does it help to say that I have been there? In some ways I live there, as I know you do too. In these times, I tell self, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

    Thank you for living raw on these blog pages. What an encouragement you are, and a beautiful one.

  10. says


    i loved this: Seeing beauty in the shift sometimes requires I see with God’s eyes.

    Lord, may I see through Your eyes.


  11. says

    Several months on down the road here, I saw your post again. And paused. Maybe because I had recently written about The Answer to Prayer That I Still Don’t Understand. It grabbed me. And you so eloquently put into words all the feelings, dismay, and turning away we feel.
    I’m sure this situation is healing in your life. The Lord graciously healed mine many years ago.
    From My Heart to Yours,

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