No, slow, grow or go

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2017

By Tonya S. Swindell

When describing God’s responsiveness to difficult situations, I’ve heard many people say, “He may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time.”

Sometimes I questioned God’s timing after hearing that statement. Those words also caused me to reflect on various ways Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and guided me through answered prayer.

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Pastor Manson Johnson mentioned “No, Slow, Grow or Go” are words God may use to answer prayers when I seek His guidance. Each word calls for a different response, which may shed light on God’s direction and timing for a given situation.

If “No” is the response I receive, it could mean the thing I asked for is not good for me. “Slow” may mean what I’m praying for is good, but not right now. Hearing the word “Grow” may indicate I need to mature in certain areas of my life. And “Go” could mean it’s time to pursue my desired blessings.

Each of those responses requires patience, trust and faith. James 1: 2-4 says: “Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”

If the response I receive is “No,” I may feel disappointed, because I didn’t get what I wanted. “Slow” or “Grow” may frustrate me because of my need to delay gratification with a patient heart.

Hearing the word “Go” has caused me to feel energized and free to pursue a goal. But I’ve also felt fearful when directed to complete a task outside my comfort zone. At such times I could relate to prophet Jonah, who ran to avoid ministering to people in the city of Nineveh.

In spite of Jonah’s fears, he ended up doing what God called him to do in the place God called him to do it.

Verses like James 4: 7-10 from The Message Bible have encouraged me to “Go”: “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

Hearing “No, Slow, Grow or Go” in response to prayer presents blessings, challenges and considerations of how to respond.

They are not always easy or enjoyable responses to receive, because patience and humility are required. They also emphasize my need to trust God’s timing with a patient heart and positive mental attitude.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at