How to Trust God When He Says No

trust god when He says no

Hearing no for an answer is always tough. Have you ever prayed for something and gotten a flat out no in response? I know I have. Sometimes it’s small things and other times it’s life-changing.

I can clearly recall the Monday night after Young Life when our group gathered and prayed for safe travels to the Burger King where we met for fellowship after. We had spent the evening engaging in skits, playing games and learning about Jesus. And we were on our way to the beloved fast food restaurant for fries and milkshakes, when there was an accident. A fatal accident.

As a new Christian, I was forced to grasp at the unthinkable. We had just prayed for specifically this. We had asked God to keep us safe on our short journey and He said no.

Why would He do that with a group of kids seeking after Him? How could He let us down like that?

Moving forward from such a tragic answer to our prayers was tough. But there were three things that I found to be essential in holding onto my faith and continuing to trust God when He says no.

Cling to Others in Fellowship

During the times where God says no, it is essential to surround ourselves with others who are going to push us towards Christ. Many times, the first reaction to a “no” is defiance.

Why not? That can’t be right?

I know I question what I heard and if I heard it clearly.

And because of this, we must have others who are going to help us to work through these questions and to seek God in the midst.

Fellowship allows our hearts to rest. When carrying a burden of pain, hardship or struggle, our strength often falters.

And in this weakness, we can choose to rely on temporary fills or we can seek the strength of those around us.

My favorite example of this is when Moses is called to hold his arms up for the entirety of a battle. Can you imagine what he was thinking?

Why God? This doesn’t make sense. I don’t have the strength. Just bring us victory.

Moses could not see the bigger picture in the moment of his weakness. His arms grew tired and when his strength faltered and they lowered, his people began to lose the battle. But it was then that his friends stepped in to help hold his arms high.

What a great metaphor for our lives today. Our friends in Christ can help to hold us up when we are weak.

Our friends in Christ can help to hold us up when we are weak. Click To Tweet

When you struggle with an answer from God that leaves you reeling, don’t lower your arms in defeat, but find those who will help you find the strength to continue on.

Cling to the Truth

We must remember that our greatest weapon in times of trial is the Word of God. His promises are woven throughout Scripture. But, God does not promise that our life will be easy. He doesn’t promise to answer our every request with a “yes”. (Although we would all love that, right?!)


We must remember that our greatest weapon in times of trial is the Word of God.

When we ask for something, even something as great as healing or relief, God reminds us that He has overcome the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –John 16:33

Jesus tells the disciples that there will be trouble in this world. But He reminds them that in Him there is peace. Because He died on the cross, we can have the hope of salvation and the hope that one day we will be united with Him for eternity.

Unfortunately, there is no disclaimer that God will say “yes” to our prayers. But remember that we see things from our human perspective, but God sees things from an eternal perspective.

As hard as it was to see past the grief, trauma and tragedy of the accident, when I finally caught a glimpse through the pain, I was able to see God working miracles. The next week there were over 100 students and several parents at our Young Life event to hear about Jesus. There were many who gave their life to Christ, and many others, like myself, who grew tremendously deeper in their faith.

During these difficult times, we must cling to the true promises in Scripture. We must align our hearts with God’s so that we can move forward in faith.

During these difficult times, we must cling to the true promises in Scripture. Click To Tweet

We must remember how deeply He loves us and that He is working all things for our good. If you can cling to that promise, you will find the strength to move forward in faith.

Here is a printable of 7 Scripture promises that you can hang up, memorize and take comfort in. Find them in the free resources tab or subscribe below to get access.

Cling to God in Prayer

God has answered several really big prayers in my life with a “no” and the hardest thing for me to do was to continue to let Him into my heart in prayer. I wanted to shut Him out. I felt betrayed and abandoned.

But by doing this, I tumbled into times of emptiness and pain. I’ve learned that, as hard as it is, we must cling to God in prayer, even when He says “no”. We must remember His promises and seek to stay intimate with Him daily.

We must cling to God in prayer, even when He says “no”. Click To Tweet

It will be hard during these times to be open, vulnerable and elaborate in prayer. I was so afraid to ask for anything for a long time for fear of feeling rejected and abandoned again.

What got me through that time were the little prayers. Prayers thanking God for what I could not see. Prayers asking for strength to get through the unknown. Prayers asking God to change my heart to be like His.

And as I prayed these small and seemingly feeble prayers, God began to work. He answered one by one and I began to grow in my trust, slowly but surely. And that trust took root in my heart.

I've created these prayer cards to cut out and use daily. These little prayers helped me hold onto my intimacy with God when I was hurting and struggling in my faith. They are in the free resources tab so if you haven't subscribed, you can do that below!

Now when there is a “no”, don’t get me wrong, I struggle and I question. But when God answers “no” to my prayers, I can lean on Him in the trust that is rooted in my heart and I can move forward in faith that He is good and that He is working for my good. I can live by the strength that comes from His grace and mercy with the hope of bringing Him glory above all.


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Comments 19

  • Well done Nicole!! So much truth here because there will always be hard times! I love your blog design…so clean and fresh!

  • It is so difficult to hear the answer NO in life, isn’t it? But it can be especially disheartening when it comes to hearing that as an answer to prayer. Love how you encourage us to hold onto Truth in difficulties. And I am so very sorry that you lost a friend at such an early age Nicole. Blessings to you! 🙂 And Merry Christmas!

  • Thank you for this post Nicole! It is so hard to lean in in prayer when we question why God is denying us something, but we must remember His heart and character – how it never changes and though we might not understand we can trust Him to be always true! I needed this reminder today, thank you 🙂

  • So much truth to hold onto in those hard seasons, Nicole. I love this one: “We must align our hearts with God’s so that we can move forward in faith.”
    Thank you for sharing your heart, sweet friend. xoxo

  • I agree, it is so hard when God says no to our prayers and we can’t understand why, or it seems like he’s just not answering at all. These are great tips for holding on and grounding ourselves in the truth of who God is even when we can’t understand or don’t like what’s happening.

  • I, too, love that picture of Moses’s arms being held up. How we need our friends! Thanks for sharing this story of a hard time.

  • Hearing or knowing God’s answer is a resounding “no” can hurt. But I try (and I mean TRY) to think that He must have something better in store. It can be hard not to lose faith with the “no’s”, but His sovereignty is worth trusting. (Easier said that done)

    • I completely agree, Rochelle! We have to rely on His sovereignty in times like that. I do often try to remind myself that He has something better in store. But you’re right-it’s not always easy!

  • What a difficult experience! Often our “no”s from God aren’t so direct and obvious and fatal. Thank you for sharing the truth about our natural reactions and the truth about who God still is when the answer is no. By His Strength. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole, For me I have to go back and remember God’s character. He is love. He is good. He always works all things together for the good of those who love Him—even bad things. His eternal perspective assures He never makes a mistake. I appreciate the way you handled a very tough and sensitive issue. Great advice. Many blessings.

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