When the Lord says a sovereign "No!" to something you deeply desire, how do you handle it?
King David's desire was to build a house for the Lord in the city that bore his name, the City of David. The prophet Nathan agreed that it was a great idea. Second Samuel 7:3 says: "Nathan replied to the king, 'Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.'” It is tempting to assume that because God has moved through a person in the past, God's will can be automatically known for the future. Nathan was in for a surprise when God make it clear that David was not to build the Temple.
I am amazed at David's response. He is clearly disappointed with God's plan. Which tells the grieving that it is okay to be disappointed with God's plan and even God Himself. Denying the obvious never really helped anyone. This was David's dream, dying before his very eyes. God reveals that His reasoning related to the fact that David was a man of great bloodshed. God isn’t obligated to reveal this much information. This revelation must have left David with a great sense of grief and regret. Still, David bounced back from whatever disappointment he experienced and released his dream project to his son, Solomon.
Then David does something unexpected. A lesser man would have dropped the idea, washed his hands of the project and simply walked away. Not this man after God's own heart. David remained focused on the real reason for the temple, which was to glorify God. He released amazing resources to his young and inexperienced son so that in the proper time God's house would be built.
How do you and I respond to disappointing news from God? Like David, we get to choose how we respond. We can sulk in self pity. We can get angry. We can throw up guilty hands and simply walk away. The other option is to do what David did—surrender to God's sovereignty and roll up our sleeves to help the one God has chosen to lead, even if that one is younger and inexperienced.
First Chronicles 22:5 says: "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death.
How you handle God's "No!" determines much about you! You don't have to like it, but you must surrender to it. In the surrender there is joy, the kind of joy that cannot be explained, unspeakable and full of glory. David's temple never came to be, but God's temple was glorious. Generations would marvel and meet God there. One day a visitor to this great temple—a visitor who taught old men as a young boy, who held the crowd spellbound in His teaching, and who did intellectual and spiritual battle within its colonnades—would from there reveal that the real Temple was himself.
In your disappointment with God's will, remember it isn't about us or even our dreams. It’s about the Son of David, Jesus! This focus does not take away all disappointment, but it sure helps us to focus on what matters most.