Life is full of desires. We are all faced with decisions regarding the things we want. We pray for things – even noble things – and sometimes the answer is “yes” and we are thrilled at the result. Sometimes the answer is “wait” and we struggle with the period of time between what we want and the fulfillment of that desire. Waiting is never easy. Then there are times the answer is “no” and we are disappointed and even discouraged. “No” is an answer we rarely want to hear.
I recently experienced a huge “NO” in my life. My husband and I always wanted to have children but from the beginning of our relationship we knew we would be unable to have them biologically. We researched infertility treatments but believed it was not the path we were to pursue so it left us with adoption. We researched and dabbled in the adoption world but realized we weren’t wired to deal with the many issues that came with it. We tried to accept the fact that being full-time parents was not part of the perfect plan for our lives and thought we had moved on. Over the past ten years or so, there have been several occasions where we thought we were going to be able to adopt a child through situations close to home but every one seemed to fall through for one reason or another. It was devastating each time and we swore we would not open our hearts again. Then recently the subject again surfaced when we found there was a situation where a very young child would need a home. For almost two weeks we prayed and struggled with what we were supposed to do. It was a grueling and gut-wrenching time but we eventually had total clarity on the answer….and it was “No.” It wasn’t just “no” to this situation but “no” to whether or not we are to be full-time parents. It doesn’t mean we won’t take full advantage of the opportunities to still affect the lives of children as God weaves them in and out of our lives; It simply means we have finally accepted the path we are meant be on. I would be lying if I told you we are entirely happy with the answer. We have complete and TOTAL peace with the fact we know what the answer is. We have not yet reached the place of total peace with the answer itself because it did not coincide with our desires, but that will come in time.
Having peace when the answer is “no” is not always easy. In our humanity, we often question why. We get confused. We get discouraged and depressed. We get angry. We struggle to let go of whatever it was we desired because somehow we think we know what is better for us than the One who created us! It isn’t wrong to want things and it isn’t wrong to pursue them with all your heart and energy. But when you come to the place where you have clarity in the finality of an answer, the best reaction is to be thankful for that clarity, regardless of the answer. “Yes” is sometimes just as difficult and scary to accept as “No.” The best place we can ever be with the decisions in our lives is to have CLARITY! The problem most of us have is that when the clarity conflicts with what we want, we begin trying to find ways to make what we want fit the clarity. We search for another angle or another facet that we can use to rationalize going in a direction opposite of the answer instead of accepting it. As a result, we end up with only more confusion in our lives and then wonder why God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers when the reality is – we aren’t listening to the answers!
So for today, I am thankful. I am thankful for clarity and yes, I am even thankful for the many times the answer has been “No.” You see, when the answer is “no” to one thing, it simply means God has something even more amazing in store for us. The pain of “no” heals in time and it is replaced with a joy and peace that truly does “pass all understanding.” And when that time arrives, we can look back and see just how perfectly everything was worked out ultimately for our good.