Saturday, September 10, 2011

But Even if He Does Not

Ten years ago tomorrow, I began the day as I did every week day--leading the seventh grade in devotions. I remember that the students were a bit more agitated than usual because it was Jenny's birthday and as she was one of the first to turn thirteen, they all celebrated with her their own maturation into eventual adulthood. Yes, we would celebrate, but God had something to say to us first.

I opened my Bible. The reading for that day detailed the predicament of three young men in ancient Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, sentenced to be thrown by order of the king into a raging fire because they would not worship a golden idol. We read this:

O, Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.--Daniel 3:16-18

As we read it, the school secretary opened our classroom door and told us to come into the common room--something had happened. And, along with everyone else, we watched replays of the first collapse and then the second. The images of that day's smoke and fire echoed the furnace room in Babylon. Young eyes bright with terrible confusion asked "Why?" But You had already told us.

This then, was where the rubber met the road of our faith. You rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace in ancient Babylon. You did not rescue the men and women who died in New York on September 11, 2001. But, either way, You are still God, and this is how we discover whether we truly believe it. The point of this story lies not in the rescue, it lies in the bold declaration, "Even if He does not..."

Thought for today: Where is God testing the state of your faith today?

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