I always thought that the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 inspired me because these three men were willing to go into the fire. I longed to be faced with a giant crisis and answer with a triumphant “throw me into the fire.” But, as the last two years have not gone as I expected, God has revealed another part to their legacy that has impacted me in incredibly challenging ways.
In Daniel 3 we find Nebuchadnezzar furious when he heard that these three men would not worship the image of gold he set up. So, he had them summoned. Read their response with me…
“ 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 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.’ ”
The piece of their reply that first started pressing in on me was “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it.” Honestly, I got stuck here. I got furious here. I got sad here. That was the problem. I knew how powerful God was and is. I knew that He could save us from anything. I knew He could spare us. I knew and believed He was a miracle worker. So, why doesn’t He? Why does He allow things that seem so painful and difficult to happen? Why doesn’t He step in like the God I know He is and fix my situation or prevent it? Why isn’t He working for my good?
For a while, actually I still sometimes struggle with it, I couldn’t get past this tension in my heart and mind. But as time went on, God started chipping away at a deep-rooted, hidden belief that was holding me captive — if God loves me, He will do what I want. Wow! I never realized how much I wanted God to be a genie in a bottle. I didn’t want to just rub a bottle; no, I was willing to work. I will serve you, love you, go wherever you lead, share you with others, and in return you give me what I want (my friends to become pregnant, my husband to get the job he wants, healing for those I lift up to you).
But that was not how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before the Lord our God. They said that their God was able to deliver them “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.”
But even if He does not.
That is slowly where God is moving me and how I long to respond as I face every giant crisis: knowing He is able to do all, but even if He does not, my faith will not waiver. We can’t answer all the whys. We can’t possibly grasp what His “good” is. But we can choose to be steadfast, even if we don’t get what we want. Our circumstances don’t change His character and the truth about who He is.
An amazing friend shared the song “Who You Are” by JJ Heller with me. A line in this song replays in my thoughts: “Sometimes I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are.” I want to be so convinced of who God is (my defender, the lover of my soul, my savior) that even if He doesn’t answer me in the way I hope He would, I would not falter in my faith or trust in Him.
May we be ushered into a time when God reveals the depths of our misconceptions so we may grow in faith. God is able, but even if He doesn’t, He is still good; He is still God; He still loves us.
Emily is a youth counselor at Inheritance of Hope’s Legacy Retreats® and works alongside her husband, a Chick-fil-A owner/operator in San Antonio, Texas.