Lessons from Voice Mail

On many businesses’ voice mail system, the generic female recording firmly but kindly tells us what to do. Often, if there are questions to answer in the process, she says “press 1 for yes, press 2 for no, or press 9 for more options.” I always think, “Wait … what is there other than ‘yes’ and ‘no?’” I guess I’ve just never had the guts to dial 9.

Our culture, including our Christian culture, is increasingly no longer satisfied with simply “yes” or “no,” because we want “more options.” We want ever-increasing choice, expanding freedom, and the opportunity to change our minds as often as we wish.

Over these past five years, God has clearly shown me that His answers as a loving Father are either “yes” for provision or “no” for protection. Not punishment or condemnation or judgment, but protection.

I’ve often heard God has a third answer of “wait.” Seriously, there is no wait; that’s just an optimist trying to process a “no” as a potentially future “yes.” Sure, God can provide a “yes” at any point where He has had a “no,” but that’s when He deems protection is no longer needed and it is time for provision.

While I believe most church marquee signs should be outlawed for potential embarrassment, the other day I saw a good one: “Don’t put a question mark where God has placed a period.”

That’s that “more options” thing at work. That’s the enemy’s “Did God really say that?” echoing the subversive doubt that began in the Garden.

It’s a no-brainer that we all love God’s “yes.” But the real growth comes when He says “no.” That’s where we just have to trust and obey. You know, that faith thing.

Take a look back at your last few “no’s.” When you take a practical and mature view, do you see His protection of you, for you?

Sometimes, we just wouldn’t be able to handle “yes” and He knows it, but we don’t. So …

Be careful with interpreting a “no” with “wait.”

Stay away from those question marks.

Be grateful for the “yes.”

Be grateful for the “no.”

Ask because every question gets answered.

Seek because everything sought is eventually revealed.

Knock because every door is opened.

Though we may not like God’s answer, or the thing we find, or what’s behind door #3, either provision or protection always lies on the other side for His child. No snakes or scorpions.

This Sunday is Father’s Day so let’s don’t forget the Father—Abba. He’s the reason we can have any day!

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” —Luke 11:10-13 NLT

Leave a Reply