You’ve probably been there. I have. You get an idea that seems like it must have come by direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. It’s something you want to do for God. It will bring him glory. It will help others come to know him. You’re not interested in people noticing you; your motives are pure. You can’t wait for God to help you get started! But out of the blue God sticks a pin in your dream and makes it very clear that no matter how much you want this, He doesn’t. How do you respond? I know in my case it was a real test of my faith. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why God would say, “No.”
I’m so impressed with the way King David handled it in 2 Samuel 7. Israel was at peace and he was sitting in his Lazy-boy looking around at his beautiful palace and it dawned on him that the ark of the covenant where the presence of the holy God dwelt was in a tent. A tent! Here he was in luxury while God was camping! So he decided to honor God and build a temple for him. He even consulted with another godly person, Nathan the prophet, who also thought it was a splendid idea. But God spoke to Nathan and told him to tell David, “No.” He wasn’t the man for the job. His son could do it someday, but not him, not now. He also promised him that his kingdom would be established forever.
If you read David’s prayer of response in verses 18-29 you won’t find one word of disappointment, no struggle to accept God’s answer, no whining. He just thanks God over and over again for what he’s done and what he promises to do in the future. He focused on God, not on his dream.
God always has a reason for saying, “No.” Sometimes it’s to protect us. Sometimes it’s to perfect us. Sometimes it’s to discipline us. Sometimes it’s to direct us. A loving father doesn’t give his children everything they ask for or they would be spoiled brats. Even when we don’t understand him, we can always trust him. Think about what he’s done in the past and think about what he’s promised for our future, and praise him.