“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I was reading in my Bible this morning and came across an old prayer request from 7 years ago. It read “Prayers 8/18/2013: Baseball opportunity in the big leagues, my boyfriend to grow closer to God, and marriage.” Three prayers many other women in this lifestyle can relate to. After all, God put our men in baseball for a reason, if not to succeed then why else? God led us to dating these men, so of course He would prepare them for marriage by growing them closer to Him and building their relationship with Christ. Marriage is the end goal of any dating relationship. It seemed like very realistic prayers to pray for. I fully expected God to say “yes” to each of them. But then God said "no."
I remember in 2013 my boyfriend was coming back from an injury and it seemed everyone was watching with high hopes of how he would perform on the field. I remember being told it was only a matter of time before he was called up to the next level, that he “Had what it takes to make it,” whatever that meant? I also remember going to church with my boyfriend, but when I would talk about God or scripture any other day of the week, he found it weird. I remember dating with the intention to marry my boyfriend, a conversation that seemed to freak him out more often than not. I remember feeling like God had good plans, but I needed to pray for them and ask Him for them. Ask, seek, and knock, right? (Matthew 7:7)
I prayed those prayers many times, for the big league opportunity that would change our lives, for the marriage we’d spend our lives together in, and for the relationship with Jesus that would guide those lives and lead us both to Heaven one day. I prayed with optimism and hope, knowing God would surely answer. And He did. He answered “no” to one of those prayers, so that He could answer “yes” to the others.
God did not, and has not to this day, open the door of opportunity for my husband to make his big-league debut. God said "no," and instead redirected our steps on a path that seemed to bring us farther away from that prayer being answered. First, a demotion from AAA to AA. Then, free agency and three years of independent ball. “God, I thought you had a plan, surely this can’t be it?” I'm certain God laughed at that remark of mine because He did have a plan, and He was answering my prayers.
It was on that AA team that my husband had a manager who loved the Lord and used his role in baseball to speak life into his athletes. It was in the minor leagues that my husband found Jesus and was invited to church by a man who worked for the minor league team during Spring Training. It was in that independent league that we found a church that opened my husband's heart even more to loving the Lord and helped him grow in his faith, an answered prayer. It was that church, in Lancaster PA where the independent team was that he played for, where we got married. Another answered prayer. God said "no" to the big leagues to say "yes" to my marriage and my husband’s relationship with Him.
God said “no” to my prayer, and I'm forever grateful that He did.
What prayers have you prayed that you are questioning God’s responses to? Has God said “no” to you lately? Has God led you down a path that you can’t seem to understand the direction of? Remember that God might be saying “no” to one prayer so that He can say “yes” to all the other ones.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the prayers that you answer, and the perfect ways you answer them. Help me to remember that you always make my path straight, even when I ask to go in the wrong direction. Help me lean on you and not the things I think I understand or want. Help me recognize the answered prayers and the reasons you may have said “no” to some so that you could say “yes” to others. You are always good, with good plans for me, and I see that in all the ways you answer my prayers. In Jesus name, Amen.
Suggested Reading: Isaiah 55:8-11