Even If

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There is something to be said for people who step out in pure unadulterated faith.  Recently I’ve been taking a look at the story if Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  I had never noticed how beautiful and strong their faith was in the Lord.  They didn’t waver when their king confronted them about worshipping other gods, not even with the threat of being cast into a blazing hot furnace.

A couple weeks ago, I was discussing the subject of healing and suffering with my dad.  He reminded me of this story and pointed out two things within their response.  The first point was that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t defend themselves before their king.  They did not try to justify their faith or plead their case.  They did not explain themselves or reason with the king’s ruling.  It reminded me of how Jesus handled persecution. He said nothing.  And the lack of defensiveness is powerful.  It shows strength.  It got me thinking about how I respond in a similar situation where my faith is being attacked.  What if instead of responding with explanations or justifications, I just remain silent?  Jesus didn’t wage war with the pharisees at his trial because he knew they would twist whatever he said.  There was more power in his silence.

The other thing my dad pointed out was what they did say to King Nebuchadnezzar.  They said, “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 that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  They acknowledged God’s ability to miraculously save them.  Do we always do that?  Do we believe God can do the miraculous?  I can tell you for a fact that he can.  I have seen lives changed and I have seen bodies healed by the power of God.  In my own life, God saved me from an eating disorder, something I struggled with for years.  And if he can do that for me I know he can heal you!
Besides acknowledging the ability of God to save them from their looming fate, those three men said something that shook me.  They said, “But even if he does not“.  Wow.  Just let that sink in for a moment.  They knew that God’s plan is not always to heal or do miracles in our time frame.  Yet their faith and trust in him remained.
Let’s respond to suffering like these men today.

God, I know you are able to deliver me from this pain and suffering.  You are able to heal and mend the situation I’m in.  But even if you don’t, I will still put my trust in you.
Amen

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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 3:16-18

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