Saying No To God

I've been thinking a lot over the last month or so about saying no to God. It started when a friend and I were chatting about how we knew what to do with our lives. The friend had been certain that there was a position at a school that he was right for. The School was lovely, the staff he had met were terrific, the interview went amazingly and to top it all off it was a near-perfect distance away from his home.

He didn't get the job.

Instead, he found himself accepting a role in another school. A school that he now realises is even better than the one he'd fallen in love with, he has developed deep friendships with the staff that he works with and has been able to share his faith with several of them and it's again a near-perfect distance away from his home.

We'd been chatting about how sometimes God says No to us, and how sometimes it is because the plan is better than we could imagine and we just need to hold on, and of course, me being contrary it got me to thinking, what if we say no to God?

A sign that says Great, because God is Great and Good.

What if we don't listen to the promptings he gives us?
What if we refuse to give up on something that God has told us is not for us?
What if we refuse a calling?
What if we refuse to pray?

I have always been taught that if we do this, that if we keep saying no that we will eventually be too far away from God to hear him. That we will have turned away from God to the point where we won't be able to come back to him.

I'm not so sure that's true, because God is everywhere. In every atom, heck small than that in every neutron and proton!

There is, of course, a very famous story of a man who did say no to God that proves my point.


Jonah was a man of God and was tasked with one thing to do. To go and preach repentance and instead Jonah said No. Actually, he didn't just say no. He said no and then ran the opposite way. I'm sure we all know what happened after this, Jonah was on a boat and thrown overboard because he was the reason for the storms and after that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Eventually, he did go and preach repentance (and the city did so!) but then Jonah put a major sulk on that even my children would be proud of.

Did God stop talking to Jonah?
Did God stop trying to help Jonah?
Did God stop being there for Jonah?
Did God stop loving Jonah?

The answer to all of these questions is, of course, no he didn't. 

Perversely, I think that sometimes saying no to God is what we need to do, to remind us that we are loved. To remind us that God is always listening. To remind us that even when we are being stubborn and obstinate that God is waiting patiently for us.

We are never too far away from God because God is always with us.

It doesn't matter if we don't listen to the promptings he gives us because God knows what we will and won't do. He just wants to give us a chance to do something for others to help us to grow.

It doesn't matter if we refuse to give up on something that God has told us is not for us because eventually, we'll realise that we are better off without it just like every teenager that has tried smoking or some other habit that they really shouldn't.

It doesn't matter if we refuse a calling because whilst we might lose this learning opportunity, God was going to repeat it again and again anyway. He isn't giving upon us.

It doesn't matter if we refuse to pray because whilst prayers are a two-way conversation God is always listening to what is in our heart.  We might not want to tell him the words that are causing us the most pain but he's still listening. He still knows. We might not hear the words that God is saying to us if we don't pray and listen for his response but he's still taking care of us. He's still waiting for us to talk to him.

It's perfectly within our rights to say no to God, I'm just not sure why we'd want to.