Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When the Answer is "No"

Photo by Pam Williams

Watson wants out—desperately! He dashes to the door every time he thinks we are headed in that direction. He shoots out while the garage door is going up. He meows, “Ow-ut” over and over and over. He is relentless.

He has tried every look imaginable to make me give in—the sorrowful, the scowling, the excited.

Watson doesn’t know what I know. It is dangerous for him to be out. The parking lot of a nursery school borders two sides of our property. Cars come and go with the zip, zip of parents in a hurry. No one is watching for a cat to dart out into their path.

I also refuse to give in to Watson because our neighborhood is populated with a colony of feral cats who roam through our yard and the nearby woods at all hours of the day and night. Some posture and spray, just looking for a fight. Others have sore eyes, torn ears, and walk with a limp, like the one in my picture. As far as I know, none are vaccinated.

In addition to the feral cats, there are plenty of wild animals to threaten Watson’s well-being—bears, foxes, groundhogs, and opossum to name a few. Even squirrels can inflict a lot of damage when cornered.

It would be negligent and foolhardy for me to give in to what Watson wants—no matter how often he asks or how pitiful he looks. He has no idea of the dangers out there. He gets angry with me and pouts, stalks off, swipes a paw at me as I walk by, or schemes ways to get around me.

When God tells us “No” in answer to our prayers, we often react like Watson. We try to finagle a way to get what we want on our own. Or we mistakenly assume He doesn’t care and walk away from Him, interpreting His “No” as no response at all. Or we doggedly pester Him for what WE think is best, instead of seeking guidance. In the process we grow angry and impatient and it shows in our relationship with God and others.

The truth is, we don’t know what God knows. He can see hidden dangers; He knows the temptations that lurk beneath the surface, and He knows our weaknesses. He understands consequences that we never thought about, the spiritual detriment a “Yes” would cause. Often His “No” is a prelude to something far better that He has planned.

So next time we get to feeling like Watson when I won’t let him out, let’s trust God’s “No”, even when we don't understand.

For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
 Jeremiah 29:11


©2016 Pamela D. Williams