I used to be able to answer ‘No’ to all the questions when filling out my medical history. Now I have to say ‘Yes’ to a history of cancer, pulmonary embolism (PE), stroke, seizure, deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Ugh. I know I’m in my 40’s but good grief. Sometimes, in all honesty, it gets me down. I used to pride myself on not even having to read the questions. On being able to nonchalantly check the ‘No’ box. I used to pride myself on being healthy. But here’s the kicker. I now get to say ‘Yes’ to all of those things and have doctors look at me with amazement and wonder. They come into my room after reading my history and then, after seeing me, think they’ve come in to the wrong patient’s room. They come into my room after reading my story with eyes wide and jaw dropped. “You’ve had all these things happen to you? One would never know it in looking at you. You look so good!”, they say. And I get to be reminded of the miracles that God has done. That I am a miracle. That God showed His mercy. That, for reasons I don’t yet know, He answered yes to a thousand prayers from this humble mom of four and spared my life. And the resentment, the ache for an unbroken heart and wounded body, the longing for another way, folds, shifts, and bends and I become grateful once again.
What’s amazing is when I was hearing “no” from God just ten short months ago (when I had a sub-massive PE, a stroke, a seizure, and a DVT all within two weeks), when I felt sure I was seeing “no”, when I was feeling His “no”, He was actually saying “yes” all along. It’s all about timing. His timing. It’s all about perspective. And in this moment here today, I get to reflect back to that time and see how He has worked.
He said, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you”. And I doubted His plan. He said, “For all things work together for good.” And I doubted His promise. Why is my go-to to doubt His plans and His promises? Because I’d rather be a pessimist I guess. I’d rather expect the worst and be surprised by the best than be disappointed. Because I’m short-sighted. Because my long-sight vision is blurry. Because I’ve allowed myself to be influenced and persuaded by a world that expects things now. A world that lacks patience and trust.
And because I’ve seen His no. I’ve heard it. Loudly and clearly. It takes awhile after the shock of losing someone to suicide but eventually the loud “NO!!!!!” smacks you across the face and stuns you back into reality. There is no turning back the clock. There is no do-over. And all you’re left with sitting in a crumpled, messy heap in the middle of the floor, are the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘I should haves’. At least it feels that way. But over time I realize it wasn’t that way at all. Sure, you’re left with those feelings, but you’re also left with a surety that God was there all along. Somehow I felt it soon after my brother’s death. I don’t know how. And now, with the passing of time, I’m finally able to see it.
I miss my brother with every breath still today. I miss him through my smiles and I miss him through my tears. I. miss. him. The hole is still there. The pain still fresh even after three years. But I am finally realizing that maybe God didn’t say no.
Maybe in His no, is it possible He was saying yes to my prayer? Lord, please save my brother. That’s what I prayed. Over and over, like a broken record on repeat for hours, Lord, please help my brother, please save David. God is far-sighted. He sees the big picture. While in that horrid, terrifying moment I was stuck and could only see a very, very small moment of it. But I know deep in my soul that God answered yes to a prayer I thought was no. But I know I will see my brother again. I know I will get to spend an eternity with him. Because spending time with Jesus daily is helping me become far-sighted.
Sometimes His no may actually be a yes. We may just not have the vision for it yet.
Remember this today. Maybe in His timing, the things we think He has said no to might very well be a very big YES! The story isn’t over. There just hasn’t been enough time for you to see the ending yet. Hang on to that. Hang on to His promises. And hang on to Him. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep on hoping. Keep hanging on to Jesus. I promise if you hang on to Him, your perspective will change – your resentment will turn to gratefulness and your bitterness into joy.