**this post is dedicated to my friend, Bethany, who has taught me so much about even if. Since we couldn’t be together and get this “tatted” today, I wrote about it instead. 🙂
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[a] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)
Your situation seems hopeless. You are desperate for God’s intervention. You wonder what to pray so He will hear you…really hear and act on your behalf. You are begging for healing. Strength. Wisdom. Guidance. Answers. Peace. You want so badly for God to answer. And in a timely manner.
Haven’t you been there? I know you have. Me, too. Maybe you’re there now.
And I just need to be honest, here. More times than I care to admit, my feelings and emotions in that moment play a huge part in my trusting God. You see, I’ve already figured out the solution and I’m begging God for it. The only answer that seems right. And good.
And when that doesn’t happen, I can get pretty disillusioned with Him sometimes. Because I don’t know about you, but I already have in my mind what a good and loving God would/should do.
It may not even be in our own circumstances, perhaps it’s in the lives of our children. Or our best friend. Or a co-worker. It just doesn’t seem fair. It seems you (or they) have had wayyyy more than their fair share.
And it is in this tension, that I am finally beginning to see that He is growing me. Strengthening my faith in Him. I don’t like it necessarily. Because I like for things to run smoothly. I don’t really prefer to be stretched and pushed outside my comfort zone. But it’s outside these walls of comfort that I experience Him more deeply. It begs me to dig in and lean on Him more. Even when I don’t understand. Even in the dark. Even in the hard. It’s here that my trust goes beyond the surface and more than just words that easily fall off of my lips. It’s here that my desire for comfort and fairness is challenged and even stripped away and my only hope remains. HIM. Believing …despite my feelings and emotions… that He is who He says He is. And that He can do anything. It is in this place of surrender, that I am reminded:
He is good. He is holy. He is worthy.
His ways are so much higher than my ways.
He is limitless.
He is working things out for my good. Not my comfort. But for my good.
He is faithful.
He will never leave us or forsake us.
And how else does He prove the validity of this, except to allow us a chance to experience it? (retweet)
I see this over and over in the Bible. Fires, death, hunger, wilderness, temptation, war, loneliness, prison, jealousy, fear, questions, doubt. God doesn’t necessarily remove the threat or even the fruition of these circumstances. But He always, always meets us in the midst of them. He walks with us, strengthening us and giving us peace in the midst of the impossible. And yes, sometimes He even parts seas, calms the storm, and shuts the mouths of hungry lions that threaten to devour us.
But more than ever, I am realizing that praying isn’t a means to a certain end. It is to remind myself that the One who breathed this galaxy into existence is in control. To align my heart with His. And to ignore my finicky feelings and erratic emotions, and instead, choose to stand on the rock that is higher than I. To trust…even when it doesn’t make sense. Especially when it doesn’t make sense.
Oh, that’s so hard.
But He is teaching lil’ ol’ hard-headed me to leave the whys and hows to Him. I simply sit at His feet and express my trust in His faithfulness and sovereignty. And His limitless ability and unending love.
And if I can’t do that, I simply pray for the ability and desire to do so.
God, please help us to pray like Daniel did…
“I KNOW my God is able to save me. But even if He chooses not to, we will not bow to any other god.”
Amen. And amen.
Trusting with you,