We had finally hit it. The “NO” stage. My daughter Kathryn at 18 months had discovered this word. Along with her happy babbling, she started adding her marked dissent to situations that do not suit her.
Sometimes she just practiced the word for no real reason. In the car…”No no no no no no no..” or while playing “No no no no no no no no” or even when she meant to say yes to a bowl of applesauce she sometimes said “No no no no no no” (and then got mightily upset when I responded with an “OK” and took the applesauce away. Hahaha!)
I have to admit, it became exhausting. I think if she only realized that what I had for her was so much better! Getting a bath, cleaning her bottom, giving her dinner (rather than just Saltines)…
I remember hitting this stage in my Christian life. When I first got saved, I was SO happy and grateful that I just wanted to please the Lord no matter what. Until He asked difficult things of me, like giving up certain relationships or doing the work to change a habit that did not please Him. Then I entered the “NO” stage. Of course, I didn’t categorize it as such because I was so good at disguising my “NO” with really spiritual sounding excuses. I can’t imagine how irritated my Abba must have been.
“Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him” (Jn. 14:21) [Emphasis mine].
The key here is in the last four words. He will show Himself to us when we show our love for Him through our obedience. The more obedient we become, the more revelation of His presence we will feel in our life. Jeremiah tells us, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).
Do you ever wonder why sometimes you cannot hear or sense God’s presence in your life, even though you know He is there? I did. I have found for me that it is often because at times I do not seek Him with a whole heart, and I am not always obedient to the things He has asked. God does not show us the next move until we are obedient to the first thing He has spoken to us. It is a progressive process. He entrusts the small things to us first, then moves us to the larger.
Sometimes we can become so focused on seeking the activity of God that we don’t seek God Himself. Hebrews tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. In the Old Testament we are told, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 4:29).
Do you have a situation in which you are giving the Lord a sophisticated, well researched “NO”? Let me encourage you to do whatever it takes to change that to a “Yes”. Obey Him! The Lord has such wonderful things in store that we don’t know of! Things that will fill our souls and give us joy…it is what He desires for us – hope and a future. But we must do it His way.
Sometimes, we do not have to seek Him out to know His desires. We simply need to choose to obey His words. The more I seek Him, the more clearly I hear Him. And when we hear Him we must simply obey so that we may be empowered by His presence.