Even If He Doesn't

"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

 

There is so much great teaching in this passage of scripture. Commitment, the power of a fearless testimony, and the refusal to worship any god but the True God and Father. Yet there is one part that I think we tend to skip over in our comfort oriented, name it and claim it western church, and that is the phrase, "even if He does not." Is there a place in our faith life for unceasing trust in Him "even if He does not?"

God has given me a wide range of people to pray for, and they are found both within the fellowship of believers and outside of it. It is my heart desire that which He has given me to pray will be worked into the very fabric of our being regardless of where we might currently be spiritually. For the last several years, one such prayer has been rooted in the above passage of scripture. It goes something like this; "Lord, You are able in every situation, no matter how seemingly hopeless, to deliver, heal, save or resurrect, and Lord, we have decided that even if You do none of these, we will not cease to believe, trust, and cling to You." Folks, I tell you, it's a lot easier to pray that prayer than to live out and be a part of the answer to it.

In one of the darkest periods of my life, so many well meaning brethren encouraged me to trust and believe Him for deliverance and healing of my marriage. I did trust. I did believe. I did claim it. He did not do it. Like the three Hebrews, I went into the furnace. Unlike the three, He didn't do what I desired while in it. Yet He did something more. The first part is that in that furnace, He burnt up and out of my life, a great amount of the dross that was there. Believe me, there was plenty to go around. But the greatest part was that in that furnace, He, Christ, the fourth One of whom Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "looks like a divine being," was with me as He was with them.

Alicia Britt Chloe says that it is in the isolated places of life, the furnace, the desert, the cross, that we learn of the true character and nature of God. It's true. It's in the valley, not the mountaintop where we discover who He really is. There was a great desire in my heart when I entered the furnace, but in that furnace an even deeper one emerged. It was my desire for Him. I found in that place that, by His grace and Life, I could trust Him, "even if He didn't."

That furnace didn't remove all my dross. There was plenty to go around then, and there is still plenty go around now. There have been more furnaces since then, and I've no doubt more await. There remain many desires in my life as yet unmet. But I continue to learn something a friend shared some time ago. That is that the greatest answer to prayer is not the result we seek, but the realized presence of Him in the midst of it all. When we have that, then we can face the place of "even if He doesn't," and know that in that place we have victory. And we have all we really need. We have Him.

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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