This morning’s devotional time included a re-visit to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s trip to the fiery furnace as a testament to unwavering faith – heard it a bunch of times in my life, but this time, the author, Alyson Kieda from Our Daily Bread Ministries focused on the aspect of their “even if…” devotion to God. They were standing in front of the most powerful human ruler in the world at that time, and defended their conviction that even if he followed through with his murderous threat, they refused to worship his image. Yes, they were confident God was “able” to deliver them from his threat, but – this is the amazing part! – “…even if He doesn’t, we will not bow down” to that statue.
I have had many times in my life that I have been able to hold on in difficult situations by believing God would deliver me from the difficulty. And He has. No question. But God is still in the process of maturing my faith. I am challenged, when He chooses in His Sovereign Will not to deliver me FROM, but to be with me IN the difficulty, to still choose to praise Him and thank Him. I hate to admit it, but most of the time, I spend the time complaining to God about how long the trial is lasting - and exalting myself (letting others know how great I am for enduring my suffering)!
This realization this morning is kinda like realizing I’ve been in a crowd with really bad breath or body odor - and only afterward becoming embarrassed about it! Yes, we need to be open about what we’re going through. The body of believers exists to bear one another’s burdens, help one another in love and glorify God in the process. But I need to remember the question God asked Moses: “…why are the people complaining and crying out to Me? Tell them to go forward!” Their deliverance was through the Red Sea – on dry ground! Their provision of manna was found in obedience to gather it DAILY. Their victory over their enemies was found in the faith to move forward toward the battle - in confidence that God would be with them. As Alyson put it this morning: “God desires that we cling to Him – even if our loved one isn’t healed, even if we lose our job, even if we are persecuted… ‘The God we serve is able’, loves us, and is with us in every fiery trial, every even if.” Lord, grow my faith so I am obedient to what I KNOW You want me to do… even if.