"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if 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."1
Many of us are familiar with the popular story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is taught in Sunday school classrooms since the time we are young. We even hear it in song form! It is no wonder it is so well-known seeing how three young Hebrew boys were taken from their home, given Babylonian names, and brought to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. After the King builds a 90-foot golden statue of himself for all to worship, only these three boys refused to bow down to it. The King gets so angry that he heats the furnace seven times hotter than usual and has the boys thrown in. However, as the King watches from afar, he notices there are four men walking around in the fire unharmed! So, he calls the boys out and declares that there is no other god who can rescue like the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. This is the short version of the story, but if you would like to read it in its entirety, I encourage you to read Daniel 3.
Today I want to focus on two very important words that these three young men used in their response to Nebuchadnezzar in today's scripture... "Even if". Their faith was so strong that they knew that God would rescue them, but they also realized that God is God, and his plans are bigger than ours. But regardless of what God decided to do, they trusted God completely and would honor him.
When we bring our requests or situations before God, is our faith dependent on his response? Will we continue trusting God even if he says no? Will we still love God even if he allows pain and suffering in our lives? Will we honor him even if we are the only one doing it? I can tell you from experience that it is much easier to have faith and say we trust God when things go like we want them to go. But I can also tell you, from experience, that when we choose to have faith and trust God even if his will is not as we had hoped, this brings you to a whole new level in your relationship with God. The love you feel from God, and the love you have for him in return grows, because even in the middle of that difficult circumstance He makes his presence known to you and later you see the plan he had. Even if you don't fully understand it, you experience the peace, hope and joy that trusting God brings.
Suggested prayer: Dear God, help my faith be strong regardless of what surrounds me. Help me trust you and believe that you are in control. Help me honor and glorify you with my words and actions. And even if your will is difficult to accept now, I will still love you and trust you through the process. Help my relationship with you grow, as I practice being more like you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, amen."
Daniel 3:17-18 (NLT).
Today's Encounter was written by: Crystal B.