Day 9: But If Not
You've probably heard the story since childhood of the three men thrown into the fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Refusing to obey the king's decree and bow down before idols, the three young men were bound and brought before King Nebuchadnezzar. I want you to focus on what they said.
"Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us" (Daniel 3:17). "But if not, we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
Read it again.
"Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. But if not..."
But if not.
Let's turn the focus now to you. What about your trial, your illness, your situation, your trouble? You've prayed and prayed, and have tried so hard to put it all into God's hands. But what if He never answers your prayers? What if you go to your grave never seeing God move in your trial? What if you boasted like the three men, "My God can deliver me! He can meet my need! He can answer my prayer! But if not..." How would you complete the sentence?
Perhaps no human never suffered so much for so long than did Job. He lost his children, his possessions, and his health, all within a matter of minutes. But, he never lost his faith, for Satan could not take that away from him. Job was still able look with all confidence toward Heaven and proclaim, "Though He slay Me, yet will I trust Him!" (Job 13:15).
The apostle Paul was burdened with, as he describes it, "a thorn in the flesh" to torment him. This man of great faith prayed and asked God on three occasions to remove the thorn. But instead of God moving in his trial and removing the thorn, God instead done a marvelous work in Paul's heart through the thorn. Jesus wanted Paul to learn His grace was sufficient to see him through his trial. Paul's response? "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The prophet Habakkuk in his little book opened with this lament, "O Jehovah, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!" Habakkuk was questioning God, "Why do you tolerate the wicked? Why do you let them swallow up the righteous?" But Habakkuk closed his book with these words, "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 1:2; 3:17-18).
My God can heal. He can deliver. He can answer my prayer. He can meet my need.
But if not...
I will trust in Him.
I will boast in Him.
I will rejoice in Him.
I will not bow.