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  • Writer's pictureRyne

Even if he does not - Day 28 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

A few weeks ago, in a post titled Even in the Storm, I shared how even in the storms of life, I am thankful - not only for surviving the storm but for the storm itself. In the storms, my faith has grown and my view of God has grown.


Today is an extension of that line of thinking. It’s not uncommon to hear about someone going through a trial that places the blame on God for the trial they are enduring. Statements are made such as “If God was good” or “if God cared” then whatever event happened wouldn’t have happened.


First off - if we had the ability to choose, NONE of us would choose to go through a trial to experience going through a trial. We would all choose the path of no trials if that was an option presented to us. Even Jesus himself, in the Garden of Gethsemane, who knew the road before him that led to the cross, asked that God take the cup from him.


But then Jesus showed his complete commitment to the will of God. “Yet not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus wanted another way but knew that the trail ahead would change history for all of eternity - there is safety and security in his blood and resurrection for all who believe in him.


The reality is that we will all experience trials at some point in our life. We might get the call that we’ve always dreaded, lose a job, need to move away from our family, or find out we have cancer. Trials will come. But, looking at scripture can help orient our minds to the type of God and Christ-focused thinking that can turn even the most difficult situation into an opportunity (at some point) to praise God and give Him the glory.


Let’s look at one of my favorite stories that help to illustrate a God-focused heart in the midst of trials.


Their land had been taken from them and they were three of the lucky ones that survived the takeover of their country. But instead of staying in their own land, they were shipped off to a completely foreign land. When they arrived, they were stripped of their identity and given new names.


The king of the land built a huge statue of himself. When the music was played, the king called for all within the land to bow down and worship the statue. The music played and people all over the land bowed down to worship the king. But not everybody. Our three heroes didn’t bow.


Others took notice. People knew that there was a penalty for not bowing - death. So those that were closest to the king ran to him and pointed out the three men from the conquered nation. “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some [conquered people] who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”


This is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - Jews from the time of Daniel and the Babylonian exile. The king, Nebuchadnezzar, called them to his throne.


“Is it true?” he asked them when they arrived. He even offered to give them a second chance, “if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But 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?”


“Yes.” they responded.


But they continued.


“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. 18 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)


For those of you that know the story, you know what happens next. The music sounds again, their last chance to worship King Nebuchadnezzar before getting thrown into the furnace that was used to refine the gold that was used for the statue. And they don’t bow.


When the three men were thrown into the furnace, tied up, the flames and the heat was so great that the soldiers who tossed them into the fire were burned up. But God did the most amazing thing through their story. In the fire, there appeared a fourth person alongside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - and they survived the fire. They walked out of the furnace without a scratch.


The experience was so powerful that King Nebuchadnezzar took immediate, drastic action.


“28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”


30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:28-30)


That’s an amazing transformation that came through the faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had in God.


But here’s the thing - I know that some of you reading this have that kind of faith as well, faith that God can protect and heal you. Yet, there are times when what we want to happen, doesn’t happen.


What I’ve learned about the faith of these three men isn’t found only in the confidence they show in verse 17 - “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand” - but instead is found in the next six words they share.


But even if he does not.


That’s deep faith. That’s the kind of life I want to live as a follower of Jesus. But even if God doesn’t save me (or my friend/family) from this trial, I will still not bow to the world. They were sharing their belief in God the creator of heaven and earth above anything this world could throw at them.


For me, there is tremendous hope in those words, because I’ve experienced that on the other side of “but even if he does not” is a faith that is stronger than ever before. I know, like many of you do as well, that the difficulties and trials in life have the ability to deepen faith like no smooth road can.


It was in the most difficult experiences of my life that I was forced to rely only on God’s promises to make it through the day.


So, if you need an example to follow, follow the example of three young Jewish boys taken from their country and sent to the country of their enemies. When the next trial comes I pray a few things for you:


1. Pray that God takes away the trial (heals the sick, removes the thorn, restores relationships, etc)


And at the same time


2. Pray that even if God doesn’t take away the trial, that you will only worship Him.

 

If you liked today's post, maybe you'll like some of the other posts that I've previously written. Check them out on my homepage or see three of my favorites below. If today is your first day here, welcome! Feel free to follow me on any of the socials and reach out! I'd love to chat.

Instagram: @RyneJungling

Also, on the 4th of each month, I send out a monthly newsletter, “Lantern Row Newsletter”, click here to subscribe and get the December issue on December 4th.

Previous 30 Days of Thankfulness posts



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