When God Says No

By Marcy Barthelette

I say this because I know what I am planning for you. I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Jeremiah 29:11 New Century Version, NCV

It was probably sometime in 1986 when our kids were experiencing those tumultuous teen years that we decided it was in their best interests to relocate. Understand, we didn’t ask their opinion. Ken and I simply decided that if they chose to pursue a college education, it would be beneficial to live in a school district that offered more in the way of preparation than the tiny district they had called home for several of the more important years of their lives, at least in their opinions.

At that time, we called one of the most beautiful settings in all of Missouri our home. Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park offers the crystal clear waters of the East fork of the Black River tumbling over giant Precambrian boulders and creating a myriad of pools that delight swimmers of all ages. Nature’s water slides outshine anything man has ever created for water recreation. Beautiful hillsides surround the stream and beckon the adventurous genes in every experienced or would-be hiker. The park boasts an enormous bounty of wildflowers and wildlife, many found only there or in very few places. Its very unique ecosystem is studied by scientists and nature lovers from far and wide. We had all flourished in this environment but it seemed to be our time to move on.

And so, the interview process began, and Ken felt really confident that he had this move in the bag. He had spent four years at the Shut-ins, a long time for a superintendent to stay in one place back then, and he was a good friend of the District Supervisor for the intended new assignment. But guess what … the answer was no. We were devastated! In hindsight, we realized that park was not a location we really wanted but we carried around our disappointment like a badge of honor until the next opening presented itself and we jumped on that one too. This time the answer was yes but though Ken accomplished a lot during our short stay and learned vital skills for the future, the park was not a good fit for our family and we really began to question our haste in moving. Finally, the superintendent position at Montauk State Park opened. It turned out to be just the right park at the right time. All of our kids graduated from high school during our tenure there. The park provided great part-time jobs for them and they all made good friends, enjoyed the sports program and other extracurricular activities. We loved our time there and always feel as if we’re coming home when we go back for a camping visit.

Sometimes the best things come to us by following a labyrinthine path, one which seems never-ending when we’re in the midst of it. We’ve always felt that God was in control of our moves from place to place, though there were occasions when we momentarily questioned His decisions. In the end, He always knows best and we can save ourselves a lot of grief by accepting His “NO” as just another fork in the road.

If God must choose between your earthly satisfaction and your heavenly salvation, which do you hope he chooses? Max Lucado

God’s ultimate concern is that we hear His calling, accept His will for our lives and live according to His teachings. And that brings us right back to His “gift” of free will. It lies at the core of everything we say and do. Our world offers more temptations than we can begin to count and often they’re disguised so craftily that we just can’t help ourselves. All the glitter around us seems so alluring and just when we’re about to take that dangerous step that could jeopardize our relationship with Him, God decides this is the time to just say “NO. I want my child to really think about this.” When everything is going wrong and you just can’t seem to get back on track, step back a bit and take a good look at what’s happening. Is the decision you are about to make really good for you, or will it just make you more appealing in the eyes of the world? God may be trying to tell you something that will impact everything in your future. It just might be a good idea to pay attention to His “NO.”

Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the Lord’s purpose will succeed. Proverbs 19-21 CEB 


4 Responses to “When God Says No”

  1. Martha Sutherland says:


    Just to say how I enjoy your writings, scripture and insights. Praise God for your gift that you share.

    Thank you


    • Marcy Barthelette says:

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your words of support mean a great deal to me.
      God’s Blessings,

  2. Brenda Clark says:

    Great reminder, Marcy!!

  3. Marcy Barthelette says:

    Often the reminders are directed right back toward me.

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