I love the story of Daniel and his friends, young Jewish men who found themselves in a strange land, under close rule of a strange king, and worse, surrounded by people who worshiped strange gods.
I would have been shaking in my shoes, especially as a young person. But when the king commanded Daniel and his friends to worship a pagan Babylonian god, they refused. The king was furious and threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace.
Again, I would have been shaking in my shoes. And again, here is Daniel’s response to the king:
“We have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
Daniel had full belief that the God he worshiped and served would deliver him from the fiery furnace. That’s a strong faith! But here is the best part of the whole set of verses…
But if not…
Daniel didn’t say, “But if not, then we will bow down to your god.”
He didn’t say, “But if not, we will rethink this decision.”
Nor did he say, “But if not, we will reconsider our thoughts on the one true God.”
Daniel said that even if God did not deliver him from the fiery furnace, He would still be the same God that He’s always been. He would still be the only God worthy of worship. He would be the only God that Daniel would praise, no matter the outcome.
Do we have that kind of faith in the God we serve today, friends?
I mean, we’re not facing a fiery furnace. But we are facing many unknowns. A furnace of it’s own kind. We are facing worldwide changes and challenges that no one in our society has seen the likes of before.
Daily, in my prayer time, I have had to face my fears and doubts. I end by saying to God that I know He could make all of this go away with a snap of His fingers. Just a word from Him. A thought. I have every belief that He could do it in an instant.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers to questions that ask why. Why would He let it happen in the first place…That’s not where my thoughts head. I do know we live in a fallen world, and imperfect world full of sickness and strife.
But my thoughts head towards a place of faith in a God who is in control of my life, the world, and a tiny virus.
The life of Daniel has been on my heart and mind in the last week, and so I’ve begun to add this to my prayers. “God, I know You can end this in an instant. But God, if not, You are still God. You are still in control. You are still greater than the idols of fear and anxiety.”
So let’s pray, friends. Let’s pray that God would take this thing away. This crisis, this panic, this sickness, this depression. Let’s pray that He would wipe it out quickly. Because He can!
But if not, let’s continue to praise His name for what He is doing every day in our lives.
And if not, let’s look for His fingerprints in the unknown, and see what new things He is doing, and how He is refining us through this fire.
If not, let’s not begin to worship the worldy images of money, health, economy, and busy-ness.
Because, if not, He is still good, and He is still God.
By the way, if you want to see how Daniel’s situation ends, look up Daniel chapter 3 in the Old Testament!
I love this, Paige. But if not…
Never thought of anxiety as an idol. Interesting perspective.