I've been reflecting on what God said and it's still hard.
There are a few times in life where something pops up completely out of the blue and has the power to change your entire life. One conversation, one phone call can alter you life completely in the blink of an eye.
One night after one of these events, I was praying earnestly to God. I knew exactly how this situation HAD to turn out. There was only one option. God had to make this right. "You have to come through, God" I said over and over. You have to come through.
But even if He won't.......
That was all....... WHAT?! What do you mean "even if He won't"???? WHAT?!
After my initial questioning wore off, the next thing I began thinking of was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 3.
Yep. Heard the story in Sunday school about million times. Shane and Shane made a song out of it...... not sure where you're going with this God.
I actually think I did know where he was going with it, but it took some time for me to really confront it.
So King Nebuchadnezzar has a bit of an ego (understatement). He thinks he's pretty much on the same level as the God of the Jews. So he builds this massive statue of himself (vain much?) When the music begins to play, everyone in Babylon is required to worship the statue. Anyone caught not worshiping will be thrown into the fiery furnace.
Sure enough, the music plays and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego don't make a move to worship. This kind of makes the king mad. He threatens to throw them into the fire if they don't begin to worship him. Look at their reply:
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.”
Definitely a bold reply. Did you catch that one part? They said God had the ability to save them and he will save them, but even if he did not, they still would not worship King Nebuchadnezzar.
If you don't know the rest of the story, the three are thrown into the furnace and God does save them. That's pretty much the good Sunday school version.
Now let's really think about this. It's easy for us to appreciate the boldness of their reply when we know they end up fine! Can you imagine how much faith and trust that really took to say?
These three men are pretty much staring death in the face. The fiery furnace had probably killed many before them. They knew that this could really be the end. Yet, they acknowledged that God had the ability to save them and they really believed he would, but even if He won't, they would still praise only one god.
I don't know if you've ever experienced one of those life altering moments. I kind of pray you don't. In the middle of one, God chose to remind me of this story. In the middle of the storm, God asked me if I would still praise Him even if He won't.
I wish I could say I answered immediately. I was surprised He would ask me. I sat back not knowing what to say. A few days later, I stood in church. The band played a song about how much God loves us. I knew the words well. It was one of my favorite songs. I grew up in church. I knew God loved me. But in that moment, it took everything in me to sing the words.
I can start to understand how bold Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's reply was. I know God can make this situation turn out right. I know He can show up and work a miracle, but I also know that even if He won't, He is still good. He is still faithful. He is still sovereign. I will still praise Him.
I wish it was easier for me to say. I cried all the way through writing this! I really believe there comes a point where all I can do is keep telling God that I love Him and I trust Him. You are still good. You are still faithful. You are still Sovereign.