God Can Use the Disappointing “No” in Your Life

What do you do when God closes a door that you were sure He was going to open?

And, even worse, what do you do when that door slams shut in your face?

I Should’ve Known Better

I got my hopes up—again. Oh, why did I do that? I should’ve known better. I’ve written about disappointment before—even earlier this year. I think I need a tattoo of the word “disappointment” to serve as a reminder not to get my hopes up too high.

Somehow, I doubt that would help.

Long story short, I expected that I would be able to count some specific classes in one of my majors toward my other major. That would make my course load a bit lighter, and it would relieve stress. But that is not what’s happening.

There was a recent “no” in my life that caused a door to shut—or, rather, to slam shut in my face. And now I am lost.

So very lost. And confused. And worried.

Facing the Fear of the Unknown

I hate the unknown. In fact, I think we all do. There are few people in this world who enjoy surprises. I think there are even less people who enjoy hearing the word “no” when they expected to hear the word “yes.”

I should be okay with hearing the word “no” when I expected to hear the word “yes.” But I’m not. I am surprised (not in the good way), and I am worried about the implications of that “no.”

I know what well-meaning Christians would tell me if I explained my feelings to them. They would probably say that God has better plans for me. They would likely encourage me to put my feelings aside and just know God will bring a better opportunity into my life.

And, of course, they’re right. God works everything out for the good of those who love Him and are called to Him (Romans 8:28). That’s certainly true.

However, I also believe that God is okay with us being uncomfortable.  

God Can Use Your Discomfort

Honestly, the recent “no” in my life is making me quite uncomfortable. Because the door shut. THE door shut. MY door shut. My door that was going to give me the future I wanted when I wanted it. My door that fit perfectly with my four-year plan and my ideal timeline.

While I do believe that God is working even when we can’t see Him working, I also believe He strips away our expectations so we will trust Him more deeply. He can use the unexpected “no” in your life to stretch you toward Him.

An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. (Proverbs 25:26-27 NASB)

Why do we trust in our own foolish hearts? Why do we trust in our four-year plans, our job applications, and our resumes? Over-confidence often leads to uncomfortable “nos.”

God was okay with Joseph, David, Jeremiah, and countless other biblical figures being uncomfortable. But He didn’t waste their discomfort. He used it—and He can use your discomfort, too.

He can use the unexpected medical diagnosis. He can use the unexpected job application denial. He can use the unexpected test result. He can use the unexpected rejection letter.  

God can use the closed doors in your life. Yes, He will use those closed doors to open other doors. However, even more importantly, He will use those closed doors to open your heart to His.

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