I was waiting for an answer via an email and there had been a long silence. When at last a reply came, I was told to wait a little longer. It appeared to be a small breakthrough, and it raised my hopes. Yet after that, the long silence prevailed. God seemed to be saying “no”.

And then I received my rejection call. The heart that had held onto hope for so long finally broke.

Proverbs 13:12 kept coming to me, and in different versions no less.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12, ESV)

When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul. (Proverbs 13:12, The Passion Translation)

But right after this disappointment, I received a call from a Bible school classmate. He asked if I would like to join his team as a writer. He had set up his own company and he recognised my gift for writing when we were in school.

God had dropped my name into his mind when he was having breakfast that morning. He knew nothing about my closed door and upon hearing about my recent rejection, he said bluntly, “They did the right thing to choose the other candidate over you, Tricia!”

He laughed out loud and told me God could be prompting me to let Him use my writing to touch many lives. Then he said, “God’s shut doors are His protection.”

Shut doors are God’s protection. Looking back, my heart is deeply thankful to God for cultivating in me a posture of rest in His no and yes. When the yes finally comes – as different as it may be from my expectations – I’m learning to be ever thankful for the vast opportunities that have opened wide despite the no.

“Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up … Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours. Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already.” (Oswald Chambers)

And in Mrs Charles Cowman’s timeless devotional, Streams in the Desert, she exhorts us that some day we shall understand that God has a reason in every no, which He speaks “through the slow movement of life”. How often, when His people are worrying and perplexing themselves about their prayers not being answered, is He answering them in a far richer way! Somehow, He will make it up to us.

“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56)