But if not....
‘If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O King. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.’
Daniel Chapter 3 Verses 17 & 18
'...but if not!!!'
I find these words truly remarkable!
For me they should be written in gold, carved in granite and engraved in the heart of all true believers in Christ. The words in verse 17 show wonderful faith and trust, yet these three words at the beginning of verse 18 are greater still.
There are days when I simply cannot find words to write. I always have a desire to encourage my brethren as best as I can and I feel so downhearted when I am unable to write even a few lines that may prove to be a blessing to some needy soul.
It is usually when I am
in desperate need of encouragement myself that I am able to write for others.
Death, illness and pain never seem to be far from our doors. The hardships of unemployment, debt, a broken relationship, a failed marriage, a wayward son or daughter all add to our woes in this life.
I cannot imagine living
without Jesus. I just could not function. There would be no hope, no
deliverance from trouble and no eternal rest to contemplate. Last night as I
lay me head upon my pillow, I once again unburdened my problems and fears to
It is not a nice
position to be in. You see, I am a very independent person and where possible
I try not to be a burden to anyone. Though I am in constant pain, I try not to
make a fuss about it.
Life would be a whole lot easier if I conformed to some 'worldly' tricks! Perhaps I should give up 'trying' to earn an honest living and simply lie back and accept state benefits! There would also be less conflict if Dad would only allow a greater degree of freedom for his teenagers!
I could give up this
writing business and just surf the Net for pleasure. Why should I take the
time and effort to try and help others when things are so difficult for me?
Their names would not be known to us today, the furnace would have been put out and life would have gone on.
But that is not the way
with the chosen of God. It cannot be. We are 'Born Again' into warfare, a
conflict that rages within and without. There is no getting away from it.
Daniel's three friends
made their choice and they made their stand before the king. They had the
faith to believe that God was able to deliver them out of the hand of the king
and surely this was their prayer. It would certainly have been mine!
God did not dramatically
remove the problem - or the furnace! It is important to note that though we
may make the right decision and do God's Will it may not remove the furnace.
When trials come my way I have been thankful for the hope of deliverance from these trials. I have the faith that knows that my God is able to deliver me and to set me free from all my difficulties. He can do all things and for a while I am expectant.
What happens when the trials drag on and there is no sign of deliverance? Has God forgotten about me? Has He lost His power to deliver? Does He want me to live like this? Can He truly love me when all these things are against me? Gradually hope itself fades. If things were difficult before then the way they are now is the pits!
Do I give up on God? Do I curl up in bed and fall into depression? Believe me, it is easy to do! We are frail creatures and we can only take so much! A deadness and hopelessness envelops the soul at such a time. Everything is an effort, a monumental task, and the outlook is always a darker shade of grey.
But God does not allow us to mourn, even though He is putting self to the sword. A resilience is nurtured in our darkness and self is put on the back burner with only the glory of God and His honour in view.
Our furnace may still be
facing us, and we know that God could easily have delivered us, but now
instead of our selfish freedom we desire His name to be glorified - come what
may. We want more than anything else for our God to be exalted, no matter what
may happen to us in the process.
We are happy to take all
His blessings and His favour yet we revolt when things turn sour. It is a
learning process for us all, and the school of faith can prove a difficult
place for many.
God's name will be
glorified among the heathen. We will be delivered and the heathen shall utter
the same words as Nebuchadnezzar, 'there is no God that can deliver after this
Author : Iain
Mackenzie Edited by : Pastor Al Moak