In the midst of struggles it can be difficult to remain faithful. Our lives can be filled with wonderful things, but our vision becomes clouded keeping us from seeing and enjoying those things in hard times. I am currently stuck in that place right now. I have let my heart and mind get so focused on those things not going the way I want that I have allowed it to block my joy. I have been wrestling with God about this. In my spirit on Sunday morning, the question that kept being asked was: “but even if he doesn’t?”
What if God doesn’t give me what I want? Why am I putting that situation before God’s plans or desires? Am I hinging what I believe about God on how he settles that one thing? Its easy to say we trust God. Its harder to say I trust God even if he doesn’t do what I want him to do.
“But even if he does not” was the response that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego gave to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3. I went back and read about that as I tried to answer that question for myself. The king had built an image of gold that everyone was expected to bow down to and worship. He had also built a fiery furnace and anyone that refused to bow down to the golden image would be put to death in the fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were jews who worked for the king. They worshiped God and were to worship no other, and so they refused to bow down to the image the King had created. King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15, NIV) They responded by saying: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not willing to put anything above God….they were even willing to give their own lives in the fiery furnace. What are we putting above God? We may not be tempted to bow down to a golden statue. But, often we are willing to bow down to other things – things that we want and desire that have been placed before us – things like money, status, possessions and relationships. These things in and of themselves are not bad. But, when we put our pursuit of those things above God, then there is a problem. When it comes to pursuing those things, can we say but even if he does not?
…even if he doesn’t heal me
…even if I don’t get pregnant
…even if I continue to struggle with this sin
Are we willing to trust God and face the fire?