But evenif he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
It recently struck me as quite powerful the opening clause to Daniel 3:18: "But even if he doesn't....." Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego had two options: 1. bow to the golden idol King Nebuchadnezzar had made or 2. be thrown into a fiery furnace and die a horrific death. I am not so sure in their situation or even similar circumstances that I would be able to refuse to bow down to an idol with my only option for not doing so is what I consider one of the worst possible ways to die. ("Some say fire...some say ice..."--yeah, ice--for me, please.)
Even with those two options facing them, the 3 men stood firm in their faith and belief in their God. They even had the audacity to tell King Nebuchadnezzar that "even if" their God did not save them from the fiery furnace, the "will NEVER serve [his] gods or worship the gold statue [he had] set up." Do you get the picture here? These three lowly men told the KING, emphatically, "NO!" Say what?! They DARED to refuse the KING himself?!
Yep. And in doing so, they made a conscious choice to die by fire. I don't know how much you know or how much you have thought about death by fire, but based on my knowledge and understanding, those who die by fire die VERY slowly and feel every bit of the horrific pain of the fire as it SLOWLY consumes them.
I cry and moan in pain when I burn my finger on the stove! I don't even want to begin to imagine what it must be like to die such a slow and horrific death as that.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed that God would save them, "BUT EVEN IF HE DID NOT," they would not do the awful, terrible thing King Nebuchadnezzar ORDERED them to do. Wow. That is TRUE faith.
Even if God did not save them from a death more horrific than any death I can imagine (ok, I can imagine other horrific deaths, but fire is definitely at the top of the list), they refused to bow down. Even if God allowed them to burn slowly, painfully, they refused to bow down. Even if God did not show up, they refused to bow down. Even if....
It makes me wonder if my own faith is that strong.
Would I have quit taking the pill "even if" I had known what was going to happen with my first pregnancy?
Would I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior all those many years ago "even if" I had known what my future held?
Would I have purposely chosen to be a pastor's wife "even if" I had known back then all that came with such a responsibility?
I am not sure that I can 100% that I would have stood firm in my salvation throughout my younger years if I had known what was coming in my future. I can not say that I would have jumped blindly into what I believed with every fiber of my being that God wanted of me "even if" I had known that one day I would lose an ovary and part of my fallopian tube while 20 weeks pregnant...that I would have a stillbirth...a miscarriage....a difficult pregnancy with a live birth....another miscarriage....a life and death situation with two life-saving surgeries....more female problems that resulted in completely destroying any dream I may still have had regarding having more children...."even if" I had known that my husband and I would go through a period of time where I honestly and truly hated him...."even if" I had known that I would struggle at various points in my life to hold down a job..."even if" I had known that I would lose a number of close friends over the years.....
Proverbs 24:10 says that if I faint in the day of adversity, my strength (faith) is small (KJV). Is my strength small because I am not so sure that I can say, as these 3 men did, "even if God doesn't"? Based on what the Bible says, yes, my strength is small.
But do you know what?! My Bible also says that when I am weak--when I have no strength--that My Jesus IS my strength--when I am weak, He IS STRONG:
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Ain't our God GOOD?! Thank You, Lord, that when I am WEAK, YOU ARE STRONG! Help me, Lord, be able to live out "but even if he doesn't" in my everyday walk with You. Since I first posted this blog entry, two songs have come to my attention that fit this theme perfectly. Enjoy. "Even If" by MercyMe "Thy Will be Done" by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family