When The Answer is NO, Part 1

Gwen Smith abortion, Anger, Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Fear, Grace, Grief, Healing, Parenting, Prayer, Sorrow, Strength, Trusting God, Worry, Worship 77 Comments

In the summer of 2002, Shira and Joey Arnold were delighted to learn that they were expecting their first child. They excitedly shared the news with family and friends as they began to plan for their new family. Weeks later, however, Shira and Joey got dream-shattering news. Routine tests at the doctor’s office revealed that their baby was not developing correctly. The couple was advised by medical professionals to consider termination of the pregnancy.

They adamantly refused.

Though Shira and Joey grieved deeply when they heard the news, they determined to trust in God and prayed for a miracle. Little Cayden was born blind, deaf, lame, and with only half a brain. The doctors had expected him to live only minutes, but Cayden defied all odds by living just shy of five years.

Five broken years.

Five beautiful years.

Five years filled with one struggle after another.

Five years filled with one miracle after another.

Five glorious years.

During his short life on earth, through the wonders of modern medicine, technology, and prayers, Cayden learned to see, hear, speak, and walk. Those five medically complicated years were a constant challenge for the Arnolds, BUT GOD brought them through every difficult moment in His strength and allowed them to experience His joy, peace, and hope in spite of their challenges. He strengthened them with His all-sufficient grace.

Cayden’s life was a beautifully broken display of God’s glory. And though God’s answer to their prayers for the healing of his tiny body here on earth was “no,” He provided both Cayden and his parents grace that was sufficient for each moment. For each day. For each weakness.

The funeral was a bittersweet, joy-filled celebration of Cayden’s life. Shira and Joey honored God as their grace-giving, strength-supplying Strong Tower. The Arnolds spoke of their trust-journey. They testified that they had had to choose to trust God and readily admitted that it required constant choosing. They boasted in the Lord as David did in the Psalms when he delighted in God’s all-surpassing strength: From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings (Psalm 61:2-4).

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.” (Psalm 62:11-12).

Your life is purposed to bring glory to God in and through everything. There are times – hard times – when the answers from Him are “no.” When those times come, we need to choose to trust that He said no for a reason.

God is all-knowing. All-powerful.

We are not.

This is not simple, but it is true. When we surrender to His sovereignty, God strengthens His children with all-sufficient grace, and His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Dear LORD,
Help me to trust You in the challenges and the “nos” that I face today and every day.
Shine your glory through my life-cracks today.
In Jesus’ name, amen.


FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE:  Are you facing anything now that could be an opportunity for God’s grace to be all-sufficient in and through you? Have you chosen to trust Him, despite His answer of “no”?

Need PRAYER? CLICK HERE to leave a prayer request on my blog in the comments section. Then pause to pray for some of the other prayer needs on my wall. Encourage each other!!

Thanks for doing life with me,




You want to grow closer to God, right? Without question, reading the Bible helps make this happen. If you’d like to read and study the Bible, but at your own pace and in your own space, then this is for you!

I have several online Bible Study options that will guide you on a personal journey with the Lord as you read, record, reflect on and respond to His Word.

These inductive studies will help you know what God says about tender topics like forgiveness, healing, fear, depression, relationships and hope. Each study can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Visit www.GwenSmith.net/BibleStudy to learn more.


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Comments 77

  1. Hello.. I am requesting prayer for my husband and myself. When I read “The Answer is NO” Part 1. It hit home with our family at the moment. We are a couple that waited later in life to find each other. He is 41 and I’m about to be 35. We have only been married for 2 years now. I guess we had to kiss a lot of snakes before we found each other. We are trying to start a family because we both LOVE children so much! Last November I had to have a surgery where my body had some major shock. The whole year I have had some problems with my body. I was going to a doctor that said here take this medicine “Provera” and “Exercise”. Yes I am a heavy person and know I have to loose weight but I prayed there was something else. I asked a dear friend of ours that is a doctor of nursing to help. She recommended another doctor. So far I have had some results. I go back to this doctor on this Monday 10/21. There we will find out if we can have a child or what to do next. I just would like a pray of answers and comforting in whatever is God’s answer. Thank yall for the thoughts and prayer!

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  2. Please pray for my son, Jason, 26. He is still living at home bc he can no longer work bc of the pain of TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome). He was a HVAC Tech. (Heating and AC work). The specialist said he is 100% disabled til further notice. Although I praise God that after 2 denials, our health insurance gave him continued coverage for 6 more years. He was raised a believer and has turned his back on God….only believing in Scientific ways. He is in agony with pain and Botox is not working and surgery is major if he has it. I can’t stand to watch him in so much pain and wonder why God would push this non-believer this far and why he is not getting well. “I believe, but God help my unbelief.”

  3. Prayers for my daughter Kristy to find a friend and a social life. I am so frightened that the loneliness will be too much for her someday. Also my niece Amanda who has gone thru trial after trial the last few years, I pray the Lord brings her peace and continued strength.

  4. In Jesus Holy name, I lift up these prayer requests to You, God. Please bless each one w/Your Love, Your Grace, Your Mercy and Your Everlasting Peace. Let them feel Your Awesome Presence; to strengthen them, to guide and direct them thru each of their life journeys. God we love You so much and KNOW that YOU are our ONLY HOPE. Please continue to bless these ladies as only You can. Thank You for loving US…and please continue to forgive us. Thank You for lifting us up out of our own hot messes. We don’t deserve You or Your Amazing Grace, that’s for sure. but we are TRULY blessed to know You and Love You! In the ALL Wonderful Name above ALL names. Jesus, Amen!! 🙏❤😘❤🙏

  5. Please pray for a successful conclusion to my workman’s Compensation case. It has been a long, painful and broken path. I’ve been strong and blessed through it all, thanks to our Lord,

  6. Please pray for healing in my children’s minds and hearts; for healing of their addictions and mental illness. That they would embrace and live their lives in God’s truth, clarity and understanding.
    Please pray for healing of my husband’s mental illness and addictions. Please pray that I would experience ongoing belonging and purpose.

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    2. I pray in the Mighty Name of Jesus, that whatever the devil has stolen from you will be restored, that the desire of your heart will be fulfilled and Grace shall restore and locate you and your whole family in Jesus Name. Amen.

  7. My son, 24 yrs old, was diagnosed with a schizophrenia Please pray he continues to stay on his meds and counseling. And may the Lord place a godly mentor/friend in to his life.

  8. I’m facing some difficult medical issues. They found a lesion on my brain and my pancreas isn’t working properly. Im exhausted and going through alot of testing. I’m really leaning on our Lord and really need prayers.

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    2. Praying that you may encounter our Lord like never before through this trial. And give you continuies strength. Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us. Praise the Lord.

  9. Dear Gwen & Sisters in the Lord;

    This is Patricia Conti I am 62 years old have known the Lord along time; practically my whole life but in my late twenties I started to have a relationship with Jesus my Savior & yours. I had a back surgery over one year ago and it left me with nerve damage and I have nephropathy in my right leg (nerve pain) & my foot is numb and sometimes throbbing. So I was able to go out on a disability retirement and have full health benefits paid by my employer. Which was thank God an answer to prayer. I get very frustrated with the medication I must take just to be able to sleep and also to keep the pain away so I can walk & function. So yes I have asked God to heal me from this and deliver me from the medication and its side affects. Please keep me in your prayers for this request; and yes His grace is sufficient for me. But sometimes I just want to scream out to the Lord for deliverance. I thank God he gave me a beautiful therapy pet and we go to Nursing homes, Rehabs & to libraries where the children read to my pug Sasha. And we are trying to bring Gods love, peace and joy to the people and children we visit. Thank you & Gods Blessings!
    Pat & Sasha

  10. Please pray for my marriage. I am getting my own place, just found out that he is not even willing to pursue me, because I was the one who left the home. Which is true, only because it became unsafe for me. He also is not willing to financially support me, fearing divorce and having to pay me for a lifetime. Pray God softens his heart. The order of protection goes till Dec. 18, 3 days after our 40th anniversary. Thanks for your prayers for strength and endurance as I continue the journey. Bless you! Lisa

    1. Dear Gwen & Sisters in the Lord;

      This is Patricia Conti I am 62 years old have known the Lord along time; practically my whole life but in my late twenties I started to have a relationship with Jesus my Savior & yours. I had a back surgery over one year ago and it left me with nerve damage and I have nephropathy in my right leg (nerve pain) & my foot is numb and sometimes throbbing. So I was able to go out on a disability retirement and have full health benefits paid by my employer. Which was thank God an answer to prayer. I get very frustrated with the medication I must take just to be able to sleep and also to keep the pain away so I can walk & function. So yes I have asked God to heal me from this and deliver me from the medication and its side affects. Please keep me in your prayers for this request; and yes His grace is sufficient for me. But sometimes I just want to scream out to the Lord for deliverance. I thank God he gave me a beautiful therapy pet and we go to Nursing homes, Rehabs & to libraries where the children read to my pug Sasha. And we are trying to bring Gods love, peace and joy to the people and children we visit. Thank you & Gods Blessings!
      Pat & Sasha

  11. Pray for my husband, Rick. Needs healing for chronic pain from hips, buttocks, to toes. Cannot sit for any length of time. Also, dynamic balance needs restoration.

  12. Please pray for me – my family, purpose be reignited in me… it’s been tough. Reconnecting in a r church – my husband and I growing – my adult children and Ministry

  13. Please pray 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (CEV) I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
    Thank you

  14. Please pray for my son and his addiction. Pray that
    the Lord will heal him and that he will be able to go study
    and find a jo

  15. Blessed be the God we serve.
    This message is so accurate for my life when God say’s no to my lifelong desire. I am so blessed by this devotion.
    Pls pray for me that i will be able to stand firmly and to be able to forgive.
    God bless and Thank you.

  16. I read you all most every day…so I feel safe writing this. My only companion, whom I love very much is looking like he has kidney disease. His name is Ruby, and he is a 12 yr. Old kitty. I am in the process of doing research on how to help him…I am on a very limited income, and I want to put him on a natural diet, that also has nutrients in it. That’s where the money comes in…yes I have adult children, but I see one twice every other month! And then they switch off. I don’t have a car, so I have to rely on taxis to get to my medical appointments and I take a special bus to go shopping in the middle of the month. One of my children takes me shopping at the beginning of the month, my major shop.
    So you see Ruby is VERY IMPORTANT to me…I have asked God to please help me…but I want his will…not mine! Please pray for my boy… Thank You and God Bless.

  17. Your blog post today has me in tears, both for that family struggles, loss, and evidence of joy and strength. I was also deeply touched and in tears about my own struggle. For them, my struggle wouldn’t compare, but for me, it is very painful from a lifelong struggle with ADHD and dyslexia. I am an ordained pastor and only my husband knows what it cost me to learn and prepare for that, but I had a calling that couldn’t be denied and as I struggled through it, I learned how great God is and that his grace is sufficient. Just as a quick example, I had to write a paper for a theology class and I felt so lost and confused and didn’t know where to begin when I stood in the library near the stacks. I was moved to go to a certain stack, reach high on the shelf and pull a book down. The book contained exactly what I needed to structure the paper. Events like that built my faith for finishing the degree (at the top of my class, I might add) and sustained me through my ministry. Yet, now at 77 years of age, I am being called to learn Russian, of all things and I am so tired, just tired of a lifetime of struggle. I’m having such a hard time connecting the sounds to the Russian Alphabet and remembering them. On top of that, a woman is in the class who is having a hard time with me, which makes it more stressful. I pray every day that the Lord will bless her and that’s easy for me to do, but it is still hard to be around. Will you please pray for me? Psalm 61:2-4 was a scripture that I clung to over the years, so reading in your blog post struck me to the core. I will do so again.

    Thank you for your posts; they have ministered to me again and again. May the Lord pour out His riches of love, grace, strength, and peace over you day after day.


  18. I recently finalized a very long and nasty divorce from my abusive narcissistic ex-husband and he continues to mentally and emotionally batter me while using my 4 year old daughter as a pawn. I have been heavily struggling with the court system mostly due to my financial situation while he manipulates everyone including the judge and his lawyer with his lies. He also continues to brainwash my daughter but I can’t get anyone to listen without a price tag attached. He tries everything in his power to make me look like I’m an unfit mother because he is pure evil and will stop at nothing to continue to hurt me. I am in desperate need of prayers to make it through this. I need prayers to help me understand how the system is failing my daughter and I so miserably. I need prayers to help me understand why God chose ME to go down this path of infertility (I had my daughter via IVF), abuse and finally divorce with continued abuse. I need prayers for strength because this has been a 4 year process and I am physically and emotionally drained.

    1. I am praying for you! God is always there with you even when you don’t feel him.
      God hugs you!
      God is closest to those with a broken heart!

  19. Help me pray to accept Gods will as it relates to a relationship with what I thought was a potential life partner. It is hard to accept that it was not meant to be despite signs I saw that suggested otherwise. I feel rejected, abandoned and disappointed. Not to mention lonely and wondering why this area of my life feels like a constant failure. My hearts desire is to be married and share my life and love with a life partner, serving God as best as possible.

  20. Please, Dear Lord, I pray that the diagnosis for my loving husband is that of No Cancer. Should the result be otherwise, please give us the strength to bear it with grace and courage. Guide our walk with you in all situations and circumstances. In your name I ask.

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  21. I just read latest Blog received via email. It touched me in such deep way because I am Struggling So Hard everyday due to Lupus, Most extreme pain/inflammation That Keeps me in constant Agony with fevers and No energy. I Rely on the Lord to keep me going. This Blog Really helps me to keep trusting God Even when it’s too painful. God knows Best in all circumstances

    1. Belinda,
      I am praying for your healing. For the correct treatment for your body to be revealed. For the glory of the lord to shine through your suffering and strengthen you. Many blessings

    2. Hi Belinda,

      I pray our Lord gives you the strength, peace, hope and faith you need to battle this disease. I know how debilitating and discouraging it can be for I have struggled with Lupus for 40 years. God Bless You!

  22. Please pray for my husband. He is facing shoulder surgery soon.Pray too that his company understand and not grow impatient with him having to be off for another surgery. Finally join me in praying for the sick homeless elderly and our youth. May God wrap his arms around all. Thank you Lord Jesus, in your name I pray. Amen

  23. Dear Lord,
    Please help for me to decide if I should leave my current position without another job at this time. This position has been my life for almost 12 years and the stress of this job plus the hours expected to work have been overwhelming for many years.. feel I have been called to this hospital because it helps save Children’s lives, but is this the life God has in mind for me. I lost both parents in a year and 1/2 and the stress of all of this has caused additional stress to my life. Please help give me a answer or a signal to guide me in the right direction. In Jesus name. Amen.

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  24. Pray for my 43yr old son who is homeless. I am trying to get him in government housing and they are saying they only have places with 3 bedrooms and he can’t have it. Because he’s single. Winter is coming again and I can’t think about him being out in the cold another winter He can’t stay with me because of other circumstances. Breaks my heart but I’m trusting god for the answer to this situation.

    1. Praying for your son, Lorraine, and you! May you find comfort in our Lord Jesus. And that the Lord will provide shelter for your son.

  25. Lord, please change my Daughter’s husband’s heart. Lead him back to You and to his family. Give Tara the strength and conviction to move forward every day, in trusting faith in Your love for her. Help me to trust You to take care of her and her children.
    Thank you for loving us so perfectly and thank you for grace.

  26. Please pray with me, for me and along side me. I like so many feel I’m out in the financial wilderness and have been there for many years. I try to lay down my “idol” desires only to take them back up again. Lord only YOU can pull me up out of the muck and mire. God please forgive me as YOU are the only one I wish to worship and lift up my praise to. Please hear my voice as I pray for relief from the emotional, mental and physical stress of my financial debts. FATHER, I come boldly and ask for relief! In the most beautiful name of names – IN JESUS NAME, AMEN

  27. Please pray for my husband that has a terminal diagnosis. That God will ease his pain and that he will not suffer to long. That God will give me strength and trust in HIM. Thank you and God bless.

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    2. So very sorry, Sandra. I am praying right now that My sweet husband does not receive that same dreaded diagnosis. I will pray for strength and courage for you and your husband. It’s scary.

  28. I thank You Heavenly Father for glorifying Yourself in my life and the lives of my seeds. Thank You Lord for the gift of our lives. Thank You Lord for the permanent full time employment am seeking for, thank You for divine healing on my body and soul, thank You for victory over the plans of the devil to distract me with debt collectors harassment and thank You for giving me Your Yoke, burden and taking mine. Thank You for the precious Blood of Jesus for saving us in Jesus Name amen.

  29. Praying for Michael Johnson, a relative who is not saved. His wife is and they have 2 children 4 and 1. He has 2 more that are 7 and 9, from a previous marriage. Thank you for your prayers.

    1. Please pray for God’s healing in my family and for Him to restore unity, love and peace in my family as well and for God to rebuild all broken pieces in our lives. New Godly friendships in Jesus’Name.

    2. I agree by faith with you that our God Jehovah Jireh and Jehovah Rophe the Greatest Physician and Healer has healed you completely and made you whole in the body and in the soul in Jesus Name amen. When there is health there is wealth. It is well with you and your family amen.

  30. Please pray for me, I am trying to find a better paying job with some flexibility to be able to help take care of my elderly mother.

  31. Please pray for my son, going thru very difficult times. He is an alcoholic and his decision very poorly to want help. He is in jail at this moment cause of his drinking. I pray every day for him but I need help in prayers for him.

  32. Please pray that God will restore my relationship with my son and daughter-in-law so I can see and enjoy my two grandsons (2 and 2mos) again.

    1. I am praying for you Karen. I know the pain you are feeling. My son has chosen to stop communication with me due to influences from his father, my ex husband. They have a three month old I am not able to see. The loss I feel in being estranged from both he and my new granddaughter brings me sadness. God has been faithful and when my heart is full of sorrow he strengthens me with his love. May God restore your relationship with your son and may the love your son has for you be deeper and more honoring than it has been in the past.

  33. Please pray for healing in my body as I have been dealing with chronic pelvic pain… vulvar pain, burning, and inflammation.

  34. Please pray salvation of my three children Kaleb,Karnesha,Khloe daughter-in-law Jackie. Break addiction of sexual perversion off my male Freind and salvation of my Freind Dennis Joe and Linda. Please pray I have wisdom concerning whether to do my bathroom and how to finance it. Please pray healing of my body. Blood of Jesus over my mom b try brother family
    Christina has favor and get a job

  35. Praying finances will improve and also salvation for my two brothers. Also I have a prayer request for a friend whose marriage is falling apart

  36. Please pray for our two daughters. Our family is broken more that it has ever been. One of our daughters has not talked to us for 6 years(except for 1 time when there was a death in the family). It breaks our heart as her parents because we are a close knit family. Also pray for our younger daughter who is living the gay lifestyle. Her partner had a little girl who just turned 6. She started kindergarten this year and just loves school. She was enrolled in a school in Louisville and her Mother took her out of school and rode a bus to TN. Of course she has been uprooted but started a school in TN this week. Her Mother had started drinking. It was very hard on our daughter. Please pray without ceasing that our oldest daughter will start talking to us her parents. Please pray that our youngest daughter will be still and know the plan God has for her in this live.

  37. Please pray for healing and restoration in my family in every area and salvation. I feel so tired.. I feel so alone. That we would have Godly friends and mentors.

    1. Marie, there is a lady in our church who prayed for years for her husband to be saved. They were married for 70 yrs. He had a heart attack and she thought he was dead. She called out to God and reminded him of his promise to her to save him and her household. Well to make a long story short he pulled through the heart attack and at 92 yrs old he gave his heart to Jesus. 96 days later he went on to be with his Savior. PTL! There is always hope. Gal 6:9“ So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
      I agree in prayer for your family please agree for mind. Several of my grandchildren need salvation and a few of my children need to get back in Church. My oldest grandson needs delivered from drugs. Thank you for your prayers.

    2. The Lord God that has started His work in your life will perfect it all for His glory in Jesus Christ name. Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to thine own understanding but in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path. You are a bless child of God.

    3. We are never alone, Our Heavenly Father is always with us. Lord in the Name of Jesus by FAITH I decree and declare your inner peace unto your child and I ask that You minister to her and let her be fill with Your Holy Presence. Thank You Lord for answers to prayer by faith in Jesus Name amen

  38. I ask for prayer as I struggle with lower back pain, I am trusting God for healing, I have been visiting the doctor, spending on physiotherapy treatments but the pain is stubborn..please pray for release for me.
    I am separated and have no partner to lean on and this even adds to my suffering.
    But I am so glad I found your 7day prayer devotional which I journeyed through with a friend. We were both blessed!
    I leave my request for your prayerful support and am persuaded to believe that God will release me from this pain I have been struggling with for a very very long time.

  39. I am a single woman of 46 years with 3 children, 2 girls and boy. I am in a financial crisis, credit bureau and under administration. I can’t apply for any loan even though I qualify because of my financial background. I request for a prayer for my names to be cleared from credit bureau and administration so that I can apply for a loan and build a house for my children. Pray for me please.

  40. Good Morning
    I am asking for prayer in the healing of my relationship, which has become a bit strained. I pray for discernment, wisdom and strength for both me and Jacob and that God would be kept as the center and focus.

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