What Do You Mean "No"?

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;  Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: - Daniel 1:1-6

We know from later accounts that Daniel was a praying man and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (whom we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) were strong in the faith.  Chances are when trouble began to stir in their land, the four of them went to their knees and pleaded with God to save their land and protect them from the enemy.  However, in this first chapter in Daniel, we see that God did not honor that request.  Instead, He allowed them to become prisoners in a foreign land.  Seems like a strange way to treat your friends and devoted followers, doesn't it?  

On the surface, yes, but since we have the advantage of reading the rest of the story, we realize that God's plan had a purpose.  Read on and witness the example these four men set forth.  The land was changed because of their boldness in their faith.  God turned their test into a testimony.  But it all began with a single word, "No."

We don't like that word, do we?  When we ask God for something, we want Him to answer in the affirmative.  Sadly, when He does not, we often pout and cry like spoiled children, never taking into consideration why He told us "no."  Could it have been to protect us as we discussed in the previous post?  Could it have been to gauge our reaction to His answer?  Could it be that He told us "no" because He had something much better in store for us?  God is not cruel.  He loves us and always wants our best, but sometimes that best requires Him to answer us in the negative:  "No, you may not have that."

I have no idea what you're facing today or what you may be asking God for, but I do know this--His way is always best.  If He answers in the affirmative, give Him thanks, and if He answers in the negative, do the same.  Don't pout or fume.  Don't get angry or go astray.  Thank the Lord for His care and then sit back and watch.  God has something grand in store for you, just as He did for Daniel and the other three Hebrew children.  Allow Him to use you as He sees fit.  I promise you won't regret it!