But, What If He Doesn’t

Daniel 3:1-25

In June of 2016 I sat in my car outside a video store praying fervently to the Lord.  I was begging for Him to give me a child.  Not just any child; my child.  The one that just a week before had been growing and thriving inside of me.  “Please, Lord” I whispered “let this one be okay.  Let us have this one, please make the bleeding stop, keep the heart beating and let this baby grow.”  I stayed in my car with my head bowed, pleading for that little life, tears dripping off my chin for about another ten minutes.  I took a few breaths and began to try to put myself back together.  I was wiping my face when a startling thought popped into my head, ‘but what if He doesn’t?

What if He doesn’t?  What would I do then?  I remembered a story from Daniel about three individuals who were facing the same question.  They, however, had an amazing answer.  In the third chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a golden statue.  He was very proud of this and required that every individual must bow before this image.  Now, there were three young Jew’s, they knew the commandments of God forbid this and they refused.  Nebuchadnezzar was not happy about that and told them that they would be cast into a furnace.

A furnace.  This wasn’t a simple time out or jail time or a slap on the wrist.  This was death and not a peaceful one at that!  This was being tossed into hot, scalding, burning, flesh searing flames and suffering until the very end.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were facing a horrifying life or death situation.  But that didn’t deter them.  They had faith that their Lord would indeed step in and save them.  That He would redeem them and bring them out of the situation.  But what if He didn’t?  What if the Lord didn’t intervene and spare their lives?

Daniel 3:18 provides that answer, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the image you set up”.  In essence; absolutely nothing will change.  They would walk into that furnace facing certain death, and even if God did not intervene, they would not falter or be shaken.  So where did that leave me?  What if God didn’t intervene and what if I did lose the pregnancy?

If God didn’t step in then I would be forced to walk into that furnace.  I would be forced to face the biting, stinging, painful flames of grief and loss.  But I wouldn’t be alone!  God says in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you”.

If God didn’t step in then I would be changed.  Those flames would alter little pieces of me and those pieces would never be the same again.  But God would still be the same!  Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.  He would be as good, and just and loving as He was before the fire.  His heart towards me would be no different than it was before!

If God didn’t step in then I might break.  I worried that the fire would be too much for me to overcome. I worried that I wasn’t strong enough to endure the overwhelming, seemingly unending and devastating flames.  But God would be there in my weakness!  It would be through my weakness that God’s power would be the most evident.  In 2nd Corinthians 12 the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.  

God didn’t stop King Nebuchadnezzar from throwing the three Jew’s into the furnace.  In fact he was so angered by their response that he demanded the furnace temperature be increased even higher!  He tied them up and had them thrown directly into the flames.  When the king peered into the furnace though he realized that there were no longer three men but four.  There in the midst of the flames, in the furnace hot enough to kill the attendants, who threw the three men in, was the Lord! They emerged from the flames unscathed, not a hair singed or the smell of soot on their clothes.

I prayed, I trusted and I waited.  But God didn’t intervene.  Just like with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego God had allowed me to be flung into the furnace.  For the second time in within just a few short months I had to say goodbye to another baby that I hardly knew but loved fiercely.  I was deep within the flames.  But I knew with every part of my being, that I was not alone in them.  That the Lord was there with me, even when I couldn’t see him through the smoke and when the flames seemed to consume me, He was there.

There will be many times in all of our lives that we will face the furnace.  We will stand at the door of situations that we don’t want to be in.  We will feel the heat rising up to singe our skin.  The flames may look insurmountable and terrifying.  With fear and worry coursing through us we will call out to God to help us, in our faith we will look to Him who we trust.  Sometimes He will close the door on that trial before we even have to enter.  Sometimes we will have to go into that furnace.  But if we do, remember who is in those flames with you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that you are there through every circumstance with us.  You have said that you will never leave us or forsake us.  Please let us be reminded that no matter how difficult our situation may be that you are nearby.  Help us to remember to lean on your during difficult times and continue to find moments to praise you even in the fire.

Rainbows

rainbow

We were in the car driving home from one of our many activities. The children were sitting contentedly in the backseat staring out the windows.

“Mom, we need to pray!” my oldest, Abi, shouted from her seat. I glanced in the review mirror at her.

“Okay,” I said cautiously, “what are we praying for?”

“We need to pray that those bad clouds over there are chased away by the good clouds over there,” she responded gesturing out the window. I looked at where she was pointing and realized that there were storm clouds moving in. I half listened, nodding in agreement, as she sent up a prayer for ‘no storms and for only good weather’.

We made it home just before the rain hit. Abi and I stood in the garage looking up at the sky. It was full of dark grey fast moving clouds. Every few minutes lightening would flash and thunder would growl low and angry.

“Mom, the bad clouds won,” she said with a sad sigh. I smiled at her.

“I know Peanut, but it’s okay. Maybe God knew we needed the rain today”. She chewed on her lip and asked,

“Mommy, why does it storm?”

“Oh,” I said thoughtfully, “well, you know the plants need a drink, and the clouds need emptying, and….” I was trying to think of something brilliant to explain storms when she turned to face me. She stared up at me, right into my eyes.

“No. Mommy, why does it storm?”  I felt my stomach due a huge flip flop and I suddenly knew that this was an important moment and that what came out of my mouth next was going to be significant. I licked my lips and drew in a deep breath.

“Because, if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows,” I saw her little body relax and she smiled at me.

“Alright,” she said cheerfully and ran into the house. I stood there absolutely still, my heart pounding in my ears. That conversation was no longer just a little chat about the weather. It was a revelation to me from God. It was an answer to a big question that I had posed to Him several weeks before.

You see back in Genesis when the entire world was so wicked and horrible, God asked a man named Noah to build and ark, gather up his family and the animals and climb aboard for a little cruise. Once they were safe inside God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights flooding the entire earth. When that was done He placed a rainbow in the sky saying,   I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen. 9:13

The rainbow was a sign of Gods covenant that he would never flood the earth again, it became a symbol of God’s promise. Now, the amazing thing about God is that He will never break a promise.  Ever. Psalm 89:34 says, I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. If the Lord says it, it will be.  If that isn’t convincing enough, what about 2nd Corinthians 1:20, for all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  He cannot and will not break a promise, not just the one that He made with Noah, but all the promises in the bible.

Now, there are a lot of promises in the bible. ALOT.  But what isn’t promised to us is that there won’t be storms or trials in our lives.  Just like Noah and is family, we are going to encounter storms.  We are going to face trials.  Sometimes you will be able see the clouds in the distance and prepare for what’s coming and some will take you by surprise.  Some may be only a sprinkle but some will bring hurricane force winds and shake you down to your very foundation.  They are going to come, the bible warns us in 1st Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. And then again in John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.

 We will have storms; we will have trials, but with those storms comes an opportunity to see rainbows! Those true and never failing promises to you from your Lord and Savior.  What are some of those promises?

He will be your shelter and protection

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!    Psalm 91:1-2

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:4

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.   Psalm 46:2

He will fight for you

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.   Isaiah 59:19

 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.   Exodus 14:14

No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.   Psalm 91:10-13

 He never leave you or forsake you…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   Isaiah 43:2

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged    Deuteronomy 31:8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.   Joshua 1:9

 He will give you strength and rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9

He will give you victory…

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.   Psalm 91:14-16

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37-39

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 15:57

 I know that some of you might be thinking, ‘Sure, Sherry, these things are all great and stuff, but it’s a lot harder quoting scriptures and trusting God when you’re actually in the middle of a storm.’   I get it, I really really do.  Remember back to the moment with Abi in the garage. I said that I knew the answer I had given her had been an answer to a question that I had asked?  It was a question that I had been asking for several months. I had asked God why?  Why did were we walking through, what I felt, was one of the biggest storms in my life.

In June, I had a miscarriage.  We wanted that baby; we were elated to be pregnant again and had felt it was an answer to prayer. A prayer that I had been praying for almost three years. So you can imagine the heartbreak and confusion that came after the emergency room doctor told me that I was no longer pregnant. It wasn’t just a little sprinkle, it was a hurricane. Fear, confusion, anger and grief; all of those swirled around throughout this storm.  It was wind so strong and devastating that I risked being torn down to the very bare bones of what I was made of. The thunder and lightning of it got so bad that I cried out in desperation, why dear Lord, why, did this have to happen! 

And then it was calmer.  It still rained and sometimes the wind would pick back up, but I held firm that solid rock foundation of the Lord and I waited.  Praying for an answer. Finally it came, in the form of a question from a little girl, who was just as unhappy about a real storm as her mama was about her spiritual one.  Because if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows.

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. Maybe it’s all sunshiny and clear, or maybe you’ve got a sprinkle, or some gale force winds. Whatever it may be the promises of God will always remain and be true and infallible. Hold on to them and remember to cling tight to The Lord, because he will get you through, the skies will part and you will see rainbows.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.   John 14:27