I sat in stubborn silence in the early hours of the morning. In the time set aside for study and prayer, I sat jaw-clenched in bed, my Bible resting in my lap just beyond my crossed arms. I had been asking God for something for months now, presenting the request faithfully and honestly on a daily basis. And over the last several days I subtly noticed the door to that request closing.
In the early morning prayer routine I sat: unmoved, pitted against the God I knew could have answered my request with a resounding yes, who was saying no.
This isn’t unfamiliar territory for me. There have been a multitude of similar, smaller situations in which I know that God is able to grant all my requests, but slowly and surely come to realize that He has chosen not to. And even though my theology tells me that He is likely protecting me from harm or preparing me for something better, I still feel the sting of the Divine “no”. Frustration and anger quickly dissipate in a dull ache of disappointment. And the scary thing about disappointment is that it always seems to hang around for quite some time. The fear of morning moments like this one is wondering, will I feel the pain of this “no” forever?
I don’t know about you, but I have a stubborn heart. It doesn’t easily follow the orders of my rationale or intellect. Though I wish I could insist that it be content or desire something different, I too often find it unmoved and seemingly unmovable.
For me, the difficulty of moments like this is not accepting that God can say no to some of our deepest desires. I can wrap my mind around the theological concept that God has my best in mind, knows infinitely more than I, and can chart out a better, more promising plan that I could ever conceive. It’s not my mind that I have to battle, it’s my heart. It’s the disappointment that lingers in my person, the “no” that follows me throughout the day, and the fear that I will forever feel the loss of my unmet request.The difficulty of moments like this is willingly accepting that God is greater than my disappointed heart.
Our God, the God who formed the universe with His words, formed our hearts with His hands. Our God is greater that our frustrations, fears, and, yes, our disappointments. He is able to calm the sea with His voice and He is able to speak comfort and life into our war-torn hearts. He is a God who can cast the mountains into the sea, and He is certainly able to move our hearts to desire things that align with His will, with His Divine “yes”.
Perhaps you have known mornings like mine. Maybe even this morning the despair of a denied request is settling into your being. Like a small rudder guiding the ship of our lives, our hearts loom large, shaping our every experience, forming us in unnoticed ways, with us in secret moments. So when the “no” comes, it is easy to wonder if our hearts will ever be moved again, if we will ever feel satisfied.
Here is the hope we have on mornings like this: our God is greater than our hearts. Even when it feels that we will be forever disappointed, faith comes before the throne of grace, opens her hands and invites the Lord to change those very desires to match His own. We can come to the God who said “no” to a cry of our hearts, stretch out our disappointment, fears, and discouragement before Him, and in surrender to His kindness and sovereignty willingly give our hearts over to Him to be formed and reformed. When our hearts are to heavy to carry, when our hearts feel unmoved from our disappointment or despair, we can go to the God who is greater, greater than our own hearts.