How to know when God is saying, ‘No’

When things get tough, do you try harder or do you give up? It can be difficult to discern whether God is closing a door because he desires another path for you, or if God is calling you to continue even though it’s not easy. How can we figure out what God wants of us in these situations?

Sal called Father Simon SaysTM for advice when he wondered what God was asking of him. “It seems people can be very stubborn and hang onto something even though all signs would point to no,” he said.

There are different ways that we might know that God is saying ‘no.’ “How do we hear God say no? Well, it doesn’t happen—that’s one way. Or we’ve guessed God wrongly, we’ve gotten ahead of God,” explained Fr. Richard Simon, host of Father Simon Says on Relevant Radio.

“If you’ve received a word from the Lord or something is truly, truly right … and every door is closed and it doesn’t happen, I’ll say, ‘Lord if you don’t do it, it ain’t gonna get done.’ And then you let it rest. You do your best, but then when it just ain’t happening, don’t be disappointed. That’s kind of the approach I take in my life.”

Sal wondered what to do when things start out well but then suddenly everything starts to fall apart. Do you let it go?

“You stick with it for a reasonable amount of time, I think,” responded Fr. Simon.

He explained, “When you say, ‘I think this is from God,’ you have to be able to answer the question, Why do you think this is from God? ‘Well, I’ve been praying about it and I have this sentiment in my heart; there’s this great opportunity; I received a grant from this organization to do this thing; and A-B-C-D-E, so I think it’s from God.’ And remember, our prophesying … is imperfect. Do it with pencil and paper: why do I think this is from God? And if one of those supports turns out to be not real, well maybe it isn’t from God. So I think it’s a matter of the examination of your conscience, in a way. So often I have thought something was from God but it was really from me. I really wanted it.”

Fr. Simon left listeners with this final piece of advice: “I always repeat the saying, ‘Grace is what’s given, sin is what’s taken.’ Is God giving this, or am I taking it?”

Listen to the full call:

Hear Father Simon Says weekdays at 2pm ET / 11am PT only on Relevant Radio.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.