I’ve been reading Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler. She is a good writer and has many good points, but I just wasn’t connecting with her until the other night I reached the chapter where she recalls when her husband was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She found comfort in the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3. I have read that passage many times, but I always seemed to connect it more to persecution and not other struggles we go through.
So brief recap of Daniel 3. The king of Babylon where the Jews have been exiled to decrees that all his subjects must bow down to this golden image he has made. If they don’t they will be thrown into a fiery furnace. Three Jews refuse. Below is what they tell the king:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Daniel 3: 16 – 18
Lauren Chandler explains how she found comfort in this passage in all the unknowns surround her husband’s illness because God could heal her husband, but even if He chose not to, He was still God and worthy to be praised.
I realized that over the years I have been storing up anger at God for 2 things that I believe God should have fixed in my life.
- I have prayed, my family has prayed, my church has prayed, and I still have Lyme Disease even though I know God can completely heal me.
- I am 26 years old and still single, never as much as having been on a date. Most of my friends are married and having children now. I have 3 younger sisters and one is married, one is dating, and one has dated. I feel left out, and I have been reluctant to pray about it because I have been afraid that it will end up being God’s plan that I will be single forever.
God has the power to make both these dreams come true for me, but like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego I need to choose to say I will worship Him no matter what.
They made their declaration and God chose not to use his power until after they had been thrown into the fiery furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” – Daniel 3: 28 – 29
And because of their resolve a whole nation saw the power of God.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places. – Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19
Neither of my dreams is wrong. There is no sin in wanting to be healthy or wanting to be married.
But if my love for and obedience to God hinges on my getting my dreams fulfilled it means I love Him for what He gives me and not for who He is.
And I know He has used my chronic illness to help others and I trust that He is using my singleness in ways that I cannot see right now.
So I choose Even If.