top of page

When God Says No

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

A few months ago, on social media I asked for prayer. I had a book proposal, and my agent was pitching it to several big publishers. Three of them were interested and I thought we were on the home stretch.

And then all three said no.

The last one’s no, from an editor I had worked with before, was very encouraging. He really wanted the project, but his sales team rejected it.

I went back to social and shared the answer and thanked them for praying. I hate it when people ask me to pray and never tell me what happened. Many people responded with loving affirmation. And there were several comments beneath my prayer request which said they knew God was going to say yes. They were “positive” God would open the door.

And then He didn’t.


I wrote the following words when the last response from the publishers came in.

“The publisher said no. His no was written and delivered in such kindness that it was sweeter than many of the yeses I've gotten over the years. God taught me a while ago if I'm only happy when He says YES that I'm not trusting Him. I want my way, not His.

It took time but I’ve grown enough to LET GO and understand that even when He says NO to anything (health, healing, opportunity, relationship, etc.) that it doesn’t change who God is. He's still a good Daddy. He will not withhold anything that He knows with His holy wisdom is wise and beneficial for me. That doesn’t mean I'm happy and singing "praise the Lord" everywhere.

That's not maturity.

Maturity is a knowing deep in my soul that His ways are higher than my ways. Even when it's not what I wanted. In the garden of Gethsemane, the night before He died, Jesus’s humanness prayed, "Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from me." And when God said NO. He replied, "Not my will, but yours be done."

I once heard Dr. Charles Stanley say, "I hate the process, I love the results." Amen, brother. Amen.

I was completely shocked at the number of people who told me these words I posted about the NO, blessed them beyond measure. Some said, “I’ve never heard it explained this way before.” Numerous people shared it to their own media feed as excellent wisdom.

And that’s when I realized for many people this was a new way to respond to a “no” from God. They were in awe at how I could be at peace and content with a no. They shared the encouragement for them and how my words made them think. They viewed it as a profound and mature perspective which they desired to obtain.

One person called me a “false teacher.”

When you are in ministry, you learn that these responses are normal (unfortunately).

There are those who believe they have the power to tell God what to do. (They don’t say it that way, it’s disguised in holy-sounding Christianese). They believe, and teach, if God doesn’t do what I COMMAND, in His name, then there’s something wrong with my spiritual life or prayers.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

He’s in charge—I’m not.

He knows the future—I don’t.

He sees the BIG picture—I can’t.

He’s omnipresent—I’m limited.

He’s sovereign—I’m scrappy.

He’s holy—I’m tainted.

It’s so wonderful to learn how to trust God. It took many years, and buckets of tears, before I was able to lay everything in His holy hands. I finally let go of the need to be in control. He relentlessly pursued me, while whispering to my soul, “I won’t let go, Laura. I’m not like people. I don’t walk away. I’m here forever. Trust me.”

And I finally did.

And then a second epiphany happened. The words in John 10:10b came flooding into my mind. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

THIS is the abundant life. Abandoning my mind and strength in exchange for His thoughts and capability.

Three more publishers are now looking at my manuscript. It’s in God’s hands. I’m eager and willing to leave it there.

Are you struggling to give God control over your life? If yes, why? Typically, it falls into 3 reasons:

  • Fear-a false belief that I’m in control and if I hand it over bad things will happen. Here’s a question for that thinking. Is there a person, place, or thing that couldn’t be gone from your life in the next 2 minutes? No. we aren’t in control we just think we are.

  • Previous pain- when we have been wounded, abandoned, or traumatized in the past, especially by people that were supposed to be a support system it can create an assumption that God will do the same.

  • Distorted view of God- if you struggle with thinking God’s goal is for you to perform for Him, or that you are trying to measure up to his standards, you have a distorted view of God. In the same way, if you view God as a teddy bear or a Santa who is just a good, cuddly, nice guy, you have a distorted view of God. There are MANY warped and twisted views of God and Jesus being presented today.

Once you know who Jesus truly is, it’s easier to learn how to trust Him. And the amazing part is, even the ability to know, love and trust God, comes from God.

© Copyright, Laura Petherbridge, March 2023. May not be duplicated without permission.

96 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page