I like when God says, “Yes!” to my prayers.
I like yes so much, I have a hard time recognizing when He says “No.” And when I do figure it out, I’m not happy about “No.” No child is. But I’m learning. Learning to accept that “no” means God has a better idea.Case in point. The saga of the clothes dryer.
What should have taken one day to resolve turned into a six-week long series of misadventures. And every time I tried to resolve the problem, it seemed I could hear the echo of my dryer door slamming shut with a sharp, “NO! Not for you.”
Here’s the short version of the clothes dryer saga:
- We bought a used set of the brand and style I had long wanted, a beautiful matching silver Samsung washer and clothes dryer. Unknown to us or the seller, the dryer drum was cracked. Slam!
- We ordered a replacement drum. Back ordered. Slam!
- Six weeks later, we received an email. The drum was permanently unavailable. Slam!
- Another company charged more for the part with an exorbitant shipping fee. Slam!
- Costco advertised an almost matching clothes dryer online–beyond our budget but free delivery and haul away of the broken unit. Since we have no truck and we’re watching our dollars, that seemed best. We clicked the link. OUT OF STOCK. Slam!
- I checked two other stores. The prices were more out of range, nothing matched my washer, and they’d charge to haul my old machine. Slam!
We decided to go to Costco since they had the best delivery policy. There sat a dryer at a low price. But it was white, not silver, and I would be giving up features. But . . .
I sat on an empty pallet, massaging my aching temples, and teetered toward meltdown mode. Why couldn’t we find the dryer we needed? Why did this have to take six weeks of spreading wet clothes throughout my house? Why couldn’t we find a way to transport the clothes dryer without costing more money?
Haven’t I prayed about this? Over and over and over . . .? Each time?
Because, a thought knocked at the edge of my brain, maybe “No” WAS God’s answer? Because He’s got something better and the time to reveal it has not yet come?
Just then my phone rang. A friend had heard about our dryer need. “I haven’t told anyone yet but I’m moving this weekend. Things sort of happened quickly. Would you like to have my dryer?”
Our connection was bad, and I couldn’t hear all the details. But we still faced the delivery and haul away issue and Costco could do all that. And my friend’s dryer was white. It wouldn’t match my silver washer. Pout. So I turned her down and sought out a clerk about the dryer almost in my hand.
Guess what? Costco won’t deliver in-store purchases. Slam, slam, slam!
Maybe the free one from my friend was God’s answer?
No. It’s white. It’s old. We can’t move it. But we needed a dryer. I called her back. All along, she was planning to put it on the moving truck last thing and deliver it to our house on her way out of town. Another friend readily agreed to move the old dryer to our porch. And as I’m writing this, three days later, a church friend offered to haul the old broken dryer to the dump, adding it to the load on his trailer he is working on this week!
You know what? I don’t have a matched laundry pair. I have a coordinated pair! God saved us $700 and taking our friend’s clothes dryer was as much a blessing to her as it was to us. And the two friends who helped us deal with the old dryer acted like we were doing them the favor of using their gifts to serve others.
The most important part? IT WORKS! It dries clothes! Imagine that.
The Apostle Paul faced closed doors too.
I wonder if Paul felt like I did when the Holy Spirit gave him a one-two punch of “NO!” when Paul started his second missionary journey and tried to go into the new territory of Asia and Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus said “NO!” Twice! What? Isn’t preaching the gospel always a good thing?
Instead, in a vision, God directed Paul to leap frog over that region to go to Philippi where there were so few Jews who knew of the Creator, Lawgiver God, only a few women met on a riverside for worship. Acts 16-18 tell about Paul’s fruitful ministry to that region which ultimately gave us the New Testament books of Philippians and 1&2 Thessalonians. God’s “No” meant He had a better idea. And God’s better ideas are always better—much better!
Accepting God’s NO can redirect us to His YES.
When we don’t get what we pray for, it’s possible that closed door is God’s gentle way of saying, “No, no. This is not what’s best for you or the people around you. Hang on. I have something better.” In the meantime, He teaches us about Himself and helps us grow.
Me? I’ve discovered that silver and white look classy in my laundry room and that air drying clothes wasn’t so much of a hassle. I learned to adapt and be content with less. And I learned to trust God’s better judgement. After all, His judgement really is a lot better than mine.
For more inspirational thoughts that take a fresh look at life, check out my book, With Fresh Eyes: 60 Insights into the Miraculously Ordinary from a Woman Born Blind.