But Isn't No An Answer?

I must of been about 10 or 11 years old when I first heard my mother tell about Amy Carmichael who was a missionary to India. I have to tell you, one story in particular had a profound influence on me. It is one I have never forgotten.

When she was very young, Amy had been taught that God answers prayer. Amy did not like what she considered to be plain brown eyes. She wanted her eyes to be blue. So, this little girl asked God if he would change her brown eyes into blue ones. The next day, she confidently peered into the mirror expecting to admire her beautiful new blue eyes. Imagine her disappointment when two brown eyes stared back at her.

How could this be? Her mother had told her God heard and answered prayers. She had prayed for blue eyes and yet... her eyes remained that same hue of brown. It was then that a voice seemed to whisper these words softly to her. "Isn't no an answer?"

Years later, Amy found herself dyeing her skin to a dark brown in preparation to gain access to temples where there were child prostitutes. Amy's mission was to rescue these children from their horrible circumstances and to help them learn of the One who loves them so deeply, Jesus Christ.

As she prepared to get ready that first time, someone happened to mention her eye color. It was a good thing her eyes were brown instead of blue. The blue eyes would be a dead giveaway that she was a European in disguise. Amy's mind flashed back to that prayer so long ago. At last she understood why God had answered no.

I found a poem written by Amy Carmichael in regards to that event:
Just a tiny little child
Three years old,
And a mother with a heart
All of gold.

Often did that mother say,
Jesus hears us when we pray,
For He’s never far away
And He always answers.

Now, that tiny little child
Had brown eyes,
And she wanted blue instead
Like blue skies.

For her mother’s eyes were blue
Like forget-me-nots. She knew
All her mother said was true,
Jesus always answered.

So she prayed for two blue eyes,
Said "Good night,"
Went to sleep in deep content
And delight.

Woke up early, climbed a chair
By a mirror. Where, O where
Could the blue eyes be? Not there;
Jesus hadn’t answered.

Hadn’t answered her at all;
Never more
Could she pray; her eyes were brown
As before.

Did a little soft wind blow?
Came a whisper soft and low,
"Jesus answered. He said, No;
Isn’t No an answer?"

While we may not always understand why God answers the way He does, we can be confident that He is in control and knows exactly what He is doing.


K :princess:

Alison Stewart @kiwibird ·

Ah..the memories came flooding back on this one. Thank you for sharing it, especially the poem which I had never heard before.


Ruth Papalii @deanna ·

Amen! Sister love this blog so right to when People say Why? did God not answer me I always say this to "God about my husband." I have heard him say wait! but I wonder Why? He is taking so long, but just as I read your little story and poem was so true.

Gods ways are higher than our ways, he knows what is best for us before we even know but one awesome thing about God is He always reveals it later. ( Like why I had to wait so long) aye it is just so neat and you reminded me through this. Once again thanks so touching.

Signed your sister De'anna

P.S Another thing is I was feeling so down and you have lifted me so up. I was suppose to be at a Wedding tonight of my Nephews but did! not go because of being so down and did not want to ruin his wedding by looking so sad and depressed because of my circumstances today but thanks this cheered me up heaps.

Joyce Bethy Ferguson @bethy ·

As christians we tend to forget that at times God point blank says "No". Not "hold on", nor "wait", but a solid and firm "No".
we tend to believe that he will always give us what we ask for.. I know Amy carmichael was thankful God said no to her request.
I think that our mark of maturity is to accept that the Father may not grant our request, with humility and maturity... for after all, he knows best.

note to self... no stroppy fits when God says NO beth!

Billy Beard @billyb ·

Very good and touching story. One with great christian values and truth. I remember Garth Brooks old song that had the lyrics "thank God for unanswered prayers", but it does not have anywhere close to the value of this one (in my opinion). Thanks, sis

Marsha Tyler Ronquist @kraftykatz ·

No is the hardest answer to accept. Bless you K:princess: for sharing this important message.


Esther Teuka @lfjoito ·

Hey K,

This blog made want to cry as in happy tears and sad tears for the child prostitutes.

Love the blog
Thanks for the reminder Princess K

Art Schnatterly @aliveintheword ·


This morning, my wife was talking (via IM) with a colleague in India. He had something he thought was pressing, although they had already scheduled a meeting to deal with the issue for the next day.

He ping'ed my wife: "Can we discuss this now?"

"No. I have a meeting that starts in 2 minutes."

"OK, so when can we discuss this?"

"Tomorrow, as scheduled."

"How about right now?"

He was not able to comprehend the "no" in "no."

As it turned out, the meeting my wife had cancelled the need for the discussion. As so often happens, corporate plans and priorities change.

We see the same things with youngsters... "No" just results in repeated requests for the same thing, hoping to wear the parent down.

We have a lot to learn about "no."


Art :reading:


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