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When God Says No: Struggling With The Pain Of An Unanswered Prayer

When God Says No

Tears stung my eyes as I quickly blinked them away before the man approaching me on the path noticed I was crying. I let out a raspy sob as he passed and my face fell into my hands. I couldn’t will myself to walk. All I could manage was to lean my body against the stroller’s handle and hang on for dear life as my knees gave out below me.

The sweet baby girl I nannied sat patiently in her stroller as I shook, sobbing in the middle of a neighborhood, surrounded by windows and houses, virtually in the middle of a fishbowl when all I wanted was to be alone.

At first I was shocked, then so angry. “WHY GOD?!” My mind raged. I thought for the first time in my life, “So this is what it feels like to be angry with God.”

It’s one thing to have God say no to you. It’s another thing to have God say no (again and again) to the person you love more than anything on this planet.

He wanted this so bad. God, could you not have finally given my sweet man his dream?! We’ve been waiting for so long… and we felt this, this was it, our time, our yes.

I had envisioned our future, how I would announce the great news to our loved ones, and most of all how I would celebrate my hardworking, handsome man for landing his dream job after years of hard work. Training, volunteering, and praying, oh praying like there was no tomorrow. And yet still, a no. A devastating no.

And ironically the worst part… I just knew I was going to receive an answer about our future that morning as I headed out on my daily walk with the sweet baby I nannied. We didn’t know if it’d be a week or a couple of days after Luke’s interview before we heard if he’d gotten the job. But in that moment, just one day after the interview, I had this sense that I was going to find out the answer to our future.

I took out my phone and prayed silently in my head. I don’t remember what I prayed exactly, but I just felt this overwhelming peace from the Lord, and such an EXCITEMENT. I felt like THIS WAS IT! Luke was going to land his career firefighting job in the PERFECT city for raising a family; close to our parents, but far enough away to start a life of our own. A safe neighborhood, and a department that fit exactly what Luke wanted.

Within seconds of pulling out my phone, it buzzed and lit up with my husband’s name and that familiar blue heart emoji next to it that I’d seen thousands of times before. There was no mistake who this text was from. Talk about chills. My eyes glanced down to the words below my husband’s name, and my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach.

At first, disbelief. Then shock. Then slowly, from the depths of my gut, anger. Why would God give me this overwhelming sense that I was going to find out the answer to our future only to tell me no?!

And here’s the kicker to this story… I still don’t know why God said no.

But I’m okay with that.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have that same stunning pain from the no as I did a month ago. But instead of anger, I feel a renewed sense of trust, faith, and hope.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Philippians 4:19

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” -Matthew 6:26

I may not ever know why we felt so confident about that potential career position in comparison to the others Luke has interviewed for, but what I do know is that God is faithful, and He knows the bigger picture.

I also know that God has provided in BIG ways in 2017, the first year of our marriage, and He will continue to as we put our faith and trust in Him.

Has He always answered in ways we want Him to?


I’m still substitute teaching (newsflash: It’s not my favorite) and Luke has been working jobs he doesn’t quite desire either. BUT the Lord has provided financially for us as we’ve prayed for, He’s provided a church and a body of believers to walk alongside in our first year of marriage that we prayed for, and He provided the perfect apartment for us within weeks of our lease ending in our old apartment. He’s provided jobs for Luke in the timing that we needed them, and He’s answered many prayers I’ve prayed for this blog, which have been just mind blowing. If someone was to tell me my December 2017 income for my blog would be what it was, I would have cried. Oh wait, I cried anyways. The moral of the story is, GOD IS GOOD PEOPLE! ALL THE TIME! And it brings me great joy to shout that from the roof tops for all to hear!

We can choose to focus on a painful no that we do not understand, or we can choose to focus on the many yeses that have shaped us and brought us to where we are today. God may have said no in this moment, but His yes in the future will be SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL and MEANINGFUL than what it could have been. HE KNOWS. I do not. And that’s all that matters, friends.

So, I want to leave you with some practical tips to apply to your life when you’re also facing a painful “no” from the LORD.

1. Don’t Dwell On It

It won’t get you anywhere. I promise. Lack of sleep doesn’t make things any better. Accept that this is what it is, give it to God, and focus on everything He’s provided for you.

2. Don’t Let Satan Get Ahold Of Your Heart

Satan LOVES to torment us. It’s his favorite. He’s the devil for a reason. And you better believe he will use this painful no to try to turn you against God. Remember how I said I was angry with God when I first found out Luke hadn’t gotten the job? Satan loved that. But do you really want to give Satan (who’s given you nothing but hell, literally and figuratively), any kind of satisfaction? Or can you choose to accept that we don’t know everything, God does, and we can accept that and focus on everything God HAS given us for our benefit? Because trust me friends, the list goes ON AND ON of all the ways God has worked things out for my good.

3. Remember God Is Faithful

As mentioned above, God has worked many things out for my good. IN FACT, the Bible says God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him. And if you ever want to chat about this, I’d be happy to give you a list a mile long of all the ways the Lord has provided. Miracles, honestly, not just coincidences. They still bring tears to my eyes EVERY TIME. So please, friend, focus on the faithfulness of our God. And remember how much He LOVES you.

4. Remember God Holds The Future In The Palm Of His Hand

He knows EVERYTHING. He sees the ENTIRE picture when we see just a small piece of the puzzle. Keep that in mind if you’re feeling lost or confused. It may not make sense right now, but it will.

Take heart friends. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6


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  1. Molly says

    Yes, thank you so much for sharing! This topic has been on my heart a lot over the last several years, and the emotions you describe, and the healthy, godly response to it, are spot on!

    • MeredithH says

      Thank you Molly! It’s definitely difficult in the moment but strengthens our faith that much more when all our prayers aren’t answered the way we want them to be. And most of the time God answers them in ways SO much better than we could have ever asked!

  2. Tim says

    I am sitting here at 01h30 hours angry with God about so much. I googled dealing with the pain of unanswered prayer. I have had this pain since 17th July 2019 it is 14th November 2020. What a journey….


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