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Let's face it, most people don't like being told no. But what about when God says, "no?"

People in front of a map of Utah with the title that says, "When God says no"
Thad & Kaila DeBuhr from The Journey Church

How do you respond when God says No?

Have you ever had a plan in mind and every time you try to work toward it something seems to come up? After a while, you start to wonder if it's more than just random circumstances. You may even start thinking things like, "Ok God, so does this mean you just don't want me to go.... or do.... or buy... or....?"

I've often wondered what it actually looked like for Paul & Silas to be "prevented" from going North into Asia. In Acts 16:6-8 we get a brief explanation that makes it clear that Paul & Silas had attempted on multiple occasions to go North into the region of Asia. Once they attempted to go there but the Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Later, they were again near the border area when they began heading North to the area they had not made it to in the past. Again, the Spirit did not allow them to go there. So, instead, they went in a different direction entirely. A direction, clearly that was not their first choice.

I've always wondered what that "prevention" looked like. Obviously, they saw it as God preventing them as this is the way it was recorded in Luke's account. Regardless of what their prevention looked like, one thing I am quite sure of is the fact that the Holy Spirit is still in the business of preventing us from the "Asia" in our plans.

Lately, we are beginning to wonder if Southern Utah is our Asia.

Since we set out back in August of 2022 we had been set on going to Southern Utah. Not because there were any specific people or missionary work there, but simply because we really wanted to go and see it. We planned to be there by Dec 1. December came and went and we were most certainly prevented from being in Southern Utah. Then we hoped to make it there by April... or maybe by May... Again, we find our minds wandering to the passage that reminds us that our plans are not God's plans.

What we have seen is that God is making the path straight when there are people to disciple or serve or support. Shocker huh...

This past 2 weeks we were yet again attempting to make plans to work our way South to Utah and just when it looked like things were finally working out we got some sad news from a friend. Kaila's dear friend (and now mine too) has been working through a very hard season with her husband. One that was looking like it would lead to a difficult divorce and all the hard custody stuff. Her husband has long had some serious health issues and for the past couple of weeks, he was in the hospital. This week he passed away. Leaving behind his two young daughters and wife. She and Kaila are very close and she needs her friend. It all feels a little like Paul and Silas being prevented from going too far away from the place God really wanted them. So, try as they may, He kept steering them away. Until one day Paul gets a dream where he saw a man from Macedonia standing there and pleading with him to "Come over here and help us!"

And so, we're trying to live very much in tune with God and totally trusting His Spirit to lead us or prevent us. We've certainly felt the prevention when it comes to our attempts to make it to Southern Utah, perhaps this was why. So we wouldn't be too far away to answer the call of a friend in need?

We would sure appreciate your prayers for guidance and clarity as we seek God in our decisions about where we go next and when.


We would love to hear your story of God preventing you or saying "Stop." What were the circumstances? How did you respond? What can you see in hindsight? Any wisdom to pass on from your experiences?

Shoot us an email with your story:

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