Looking back on so many of my first dates, the hope and excitement seemed intoxicating. I wondered, “Could this woman sitting across from me be the one I will spend the rest of my life with?” But so many times, the answer to that question would land in my heart with a thud. It seemed the excitement of new romance was perfectly balanced by the disappointment I felt when it didn’t work out. There was frustration too – when God says ”no” to a relationship we were excited about, it can raise all kinds of feelings!
I’m not alone in this. Disappointments are a part of most of our dating stories. There are those rare couples who meet the first day of middle school, date through high school and college and then get happily married. But that wasn’t my story. My story included frustration, disappointment and questions.
One of the questions I used to grapple with was why God sometimes seemed to veto someone I thought would be a good match for me. Why did a budding relationship sometimes seem to fall apart for no reason at all? Looking back, I’ve seen that God had a good plan all along. I’ve learned to be thankful for those times when God said “no” to a relationship.
Trusting His Greater Plan
Sometimes God says “no” to a relationship because He has something better for us. I met my fiance in my thirties and the more time we spend together, the more I see how perfect she is for me. She is better for me than any woman I’ve previously dated. I think back to all those times I would have forced God’s hand and thought I knew better. I’m so thankful God didn’t listen to my ignorant appeals. He was saving my heart for the woman He had for me. I just needed to trust in His plan.
A Lesson To Be Learned
Sometimes God says “no” because He has something to teach us through the waiting. There are many examples in the Bible of people who had to wait. I think of Hannah, David, the nation of Israel (on multiple occasions) and even those of us who wait for the coming of Christ. Waiting teaches us to trust God regardless of our circumstances. It teaches us to hope in Him in the midst of unfulfilled desires.
Worth The Wait
Sometimes God says “no” to a relationship for reasons we can’t fully comprehend. We pray and ask for our season of waiting to end and God keeps us there. These are times that call for us to endure and persevere. We must remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Too often we try to figure God’s purposes out when He wants us to rest in the fact that He is working everything according to His will.
Have you recently had a relationship end in disappointment? Is God saying “no” to something you wish He’d say “Yes” to? If so, keep these two things in mind:
- God loves us as a benevolent father. Too many act like God is an angry, distant deity just looking for someone to hit with a bolt of lightning. On the contrary, Jesus taught us that God is like a generous father to his people. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father…” Like a good father, God loves us and is generous towards us. Think about someone who loves you very deeply. God loves you more, even when the circumstances of life get hard.
- God is working even our pain for our good. Romans 8:28 gives us the powerful promise that God is working good out of the bad that happens in our lives. Have you ever considered that God is taking the worst things that happen in your live and using them for your good? This is a powerful thought and can keep us from despair when the pain of life weighs us down. Even then, God is plotting for our joy.
Being Thankful When God Says “No” To A Relationship
Looking back, there were lots of times I was frustrated with God’s “no,” but now I’m extremely thankful because I see more what God was doing. I see what God was preparing for me. I agree with Tim Keller when he wrote, “We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows.”
You may also be interested in God Protects Us: 4 Signs He Has Our Back When Dating