I was reading Daniel this morning........and as always I am bowled over by the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I mean you expect miraculous things to happen in the Bible, you sort of become immune to all the fantastical things that happen because IT'S THE BIBLE. I grew up knowing the stories of Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale, a baby born from a virgin......all things I believe to be true and actually to have happened but, still, you become used to such things after awhile.
But I have never become "used" to the faith of these three men.
"Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchhadnezzar, 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
Doesn't that just take your breath away?
BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT...............
They refused to worship false gods, false images. They refused to defend themselves.
They accepted whatever was going to happen to them.
They were thrown into the blazing furnace..........
HE DID RESCUE THEM.
What they thought would happen, did indeed happen.
Which led my thoughts to which is scarier?
When He does deliver or when He doesn't?
There are times when you would give anything for the deliverance and we have all been in situations like that - sickness, disease, longing for marriage/children/fulfillment and you think PLEASE GOD, PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME and you want nothing more than to be rescued, to be saved from the hurts of this world.
And then there are other times...............
Times when you see a certain path, a certain way that things could go and may go.......how small faithful steps can lead to bigger things and bolder things and you think...........MAYBE? Ummm, well MAYBE you could deliver on this promise, this picture that you allowed me to glimpse?
Or maybe we will just chalk this up to a fantastical vision that is just my imagination running amok because, I mean, for real, God.............it's just me. You know.......me? Little old housewife, mom, loves to cook and be in my kitchen me? The one who still feels like throwing up every time I have to speak in front of people whether it be 2 people or 100 people........so, yeah, you can just NOT deliver on this, ok? I will STILL have faith, God, even if you do not...........in fact, I will make sure that my faith is greater if you do not. How's that for a deal?
I have learned over the past few years not to dismiss the fantastical, the miraculous, the unimaginable. I have learned to focus not on the ark but the man. To look at Jonah running away and fearing the task before him instead focusing in on the incredulousness of the whale swallowing a man. The Bible is made up of people, regular, ordinary, everyday people with an extraordinary God.........and sometimes they had extraordinary faith but also sometimes they were just scared and reluctant and not knowing what to do.
I get that.
But I also get that it's not about me and it's not about what I can do but what God can do. And the other night I sat in bed and I caught a glimpse of what might or might not be what the future might hold and it slammed me back against the bed. My mind was racing and all the while I was thinking, no, no, no way. No. That is so not going to happen. No. NO. Oh my gosh.
My breathing picked up, my heart was racing and I started to race through the logistics, the hows, the whys, the when, the no way is this possible or even likely and we would have to do this and this and this and, seriously, WHO ARE WE?
And then I stopped.
It's not mine to know how or why or when or even if..........I will have faith if He doesn't but I will have faith even when or if He does.
In the mean time.............I will take the small faithful steps as they come, looking to Him for guidance and reassurance and living each day as it comes..............
and quietly, secretly, half hoping HE DOES.