“When God Say’s ‘No'” by Guest Writer: Nora Tatina

The evening was magical! The lights, the sounds and the smells all pointed to the fact that the season of Christmas had finally begun. My heart was anticipating another fun-filled, magical night where Christmas carolling and storytelling filled the atmosphere inviting the soul on a journey to the manger. People would travel from all over Chicago just to hear the unforgettable story told in the fashion of chorus, dance, and carolling.

There I was in the center of it all. Feeling like the luckiest girl in the world, I prepared to greet the massive crowd awaiting entry into the church for a night of wonder. The big, wooden doors opened and the crowd rushed in waving tickets in the air hoping to be directed to their seats without missing a beat.

As I directed the crowd and helped individuals find their way to their seat, I glanced over to my right and there he stood. He was tall. He was dark. He was handsome. It was the beginning of a friendship that had a lot of potential. There were conversations, emails, laughs, and long walks that led up to this moment. I stood there wondering if tonight would be the night where everything would make sense and we would become more than just friends.

There are moments in life where life takes an unexpected, surprising turn leaving your heart crushed into a million pieces. You’re left with broken promises and a heart filled with “whys” and “what ifs.” Within a second my night of wonder turned into what felt like a lifetime of disappointment.

There the two of us stood side by side. I was excited. He was content. We had no idea what the future meant for us, but we knew we enjoyed each other’s company. So that night, we didn’t worry or wonder instead we embraced the moment. My heart began to feel something I hadn’t felt before.

“Hey, Nora!” I turned to see a good friend of mine standing behind the information desk. “Oh, hey Joann!” I didn’t know you were going to be here,” I said surprisedly. “Well, you know I can’t miss Candlelight Carols. That would be like missing Christmas,” she answered with a twinkle in her eye.

“So true!” I laughed! The annual Christmas concert had become such a tradition for so many that you wouldn’t dare start your Christmas without attending the event where the birth of Christ took center stage. “Well, are you working the entire weekend?” I asked. “Yes, ma’m! What about you two?”

For a second, I forgot he was standing next to me. He seemed a little preoccupied, so I answered for both of us. “We’re both ushering,”

“All weekend?” “That’s the plan,” I said not knowing whether or not we both would be together all weekend.“Well, you two have fun!” she said smiling. “Thanks, Joann!”

As we began to walk away, Joann stopped me and said something that would forever mark that moment in life. “Nora, good things come to those that wait!”

I was stunned and a little embarrassed. I was so glad that a friend had distracted him from our conversation leaving me wondering “what in the world?” “Joann, what are you talking about?” I was completely caught off guard. She pointed and said “I’m talking about him.” And just like that she walked away.

On a night full of magic God had spoken! He sent a friend to warn me that the next few days would be very disappointing. My heart would be rejected through an email that would cut off all possibilities of him and I becoming anything … not even friends. It was a night where for the first time what I wanted or what I thought was good for me was the very thing that would break my heart. It was one of the biggest “no” of my life, but at the same time it led to the greatest blessing of my life …the man I now call my husband.

You see, rejection has purpose. In every “no” God has a plan. For me, the “no, he’s not the one” was God’s gift to me. I was headed down a road that I thought was good for me because it was what I wanted at that time, yet God’s plan for me was far better and greater. I didn’t see it at that time. I didn’t even want to see it. But God used rejection to point me to His purpose. Rejection led me towards God’s will not away from it.

I wonder how the mother of Jesus felt the night she would give birth to the Savior of the world. After traveling for days, her and Joseph finally reached Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. She was exhausted. She was hungry. She probably looked as if she hadn’t showered in days. To top it off, She was in excruciating pain! Joseph and Mary went from house to house. Knocking, pleading, probably yelling for someone to give them shelter to provide them a place to rest for the night, so Mary would be comfortable. Yet, the Bible said “there was no room!”

The Savior of the world is about to enter the scene of mankind and change the course of history and there is no room! Rejection probably never hurt so much for Mary and Joseph. Hearing “no” while your wife is in pain and while your husband pleads and begs was probably one of the hardest moments into parenthood. However, rejection was a part of God’s purpose.

“She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” Luke 2:7.

Years before this moment, even decades before, Biblical prophecy had told a story of a child who would be born, a king who would enter the world not under normal circumstances. He would be born not with a silver spoon in his mouth instead this king would be born in the lowest place of all…a stable. This had to happen so that the world would know the long awaited One had finally come.

“ Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” Luke 2:11-12.

For Joseph and Mary on the night Jesus was born a “no” was God’s hand at work. The word “no” would lead them to the birthplace of Christ. The word “no” would be a prophecy fulfilled. The word “no” would set the stage for the greatest birth in mankind’s history. This powerful word often associated with pain and disappointment would become the very thing that would usher in the Messiah making salvation possible. This tiny, powerful “no” became the greatest answer in salvation’s story and in mankind history.

The word “no” is a hard pill to swallow. It is never easy. It stings. It’s often the culprit of broken glass slippers. However, when God says “no,” it always has purpose. We might not see it or understand it at the moment, but if we believe in a sovereign God then we can trust that His “no” will always lead to greater and better things.

Nora Tatina was born and raised in the Inner City of Detroit, Michigan. She came to Christ at an early age. Her desire to be used by God led her to do both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. She also received an MA in TESOL from Biola University and has taught ESL for over 10 years. Nora has a heart for discipling and mentoring women, a love for God’s Word, a passion to see lives transformed by the power of God’s Word, and a desire to see women equipped to serve and lead in the local church. Nora serves and leads as the director of women’s ministry at New Life Community Church in Brookfield, Illinois where her husband Rick Tatina is the pastor. Nora and Rick reside in the west suburbs of Chicago where they are humble parents to their 4 year-old daughter and 1 year old baby boy.

We thank you, Nora, for your contribution to this month’s issue of Titus-two.com and sharing about God’s turnaround in rejection.

You are loved to Heaven and Back, Nora ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

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