The Lord is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)
The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7, 11)
It is pretty easy to have faith when everything is going your way, or when God is answering your prayers in the way that you hoped he would. But what about the times when the answer to your deepest, most desperate prayers is different from what you were asking and hoping for? It is easy to have faith in God when you get a yes, but what about when you get a no? And inevitably, in this life, that happens to each of us. So it really is not a question of if, but of when. And when it does happen, what will your faith look like then? Will it be shaken, or will it remain strong?
Thus far in my journey with Jesus, I can remember two different times when God's answer to my deepest, most desperate prayers was a resounding no. No, he would not let things work out like I was begging and pleading for him to. No, he would not give me what I was asking for. But what he would give me was himself. The greatest truth of our faith is that even when the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, even when the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, God has not abandoned us. The Lord Almighty is with us in some mysterious, wonderful, intimate, and powerful way. The God of Jacob is our fortress. And it is this with-ness that changes and transforms us. At least it has me.
The two times I got a no from God were the hardest, but most transforming times in my life. Because God did not leave me to travel the hard and painful road alone, but he traveled it with me. As a matter of fact, he traveled it before me. How else could he possibly know how to be with me in such a sweet and intimate way, if he had not traveled the road of pain and suffering himself? God, the Lord Almighty, was right there with me. Right in the middle of the pain and the tears and the struggle and the mess, giving me his strength and his comfort and his healing and his presence and his tears and his love, when I could not possibly find them on my own. What a gift!
So just remember, the next time the earth does give way and the mountains do fall into the heart of the sea, God is not far off, but is right in the midst of it. The next time you do get a no from God, do not let it shake your faith, for even if he is not giving you what you are asking for, he is giving you himself. He is with you, loving you and caring for you and holding you and comforting you and strengthening you, and yes, transforming you more and more into the beautiful creation he dreamt you to be. So stand firm, he's got this. Better yet, he's got you.