16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 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. 18 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.”
But if not. Three simple words. Bold, courageous faith.
Standing in front of their imminent death, Daniel’s three friends’ statement was clear. They trusted the Lord. Whether He delivered them or not, they would not bow their knee to any other god.
I have always found this story fascinating. The Lord did deliver these three men in fantastic fashion, but I can imagine as they were being thrown in the furnace it was an interesting fall to the bottom. What would become of them? The Lord did not deliver them from the fire but rather through it. He met them in the midst of their trial and carried them through.
Maybe you’ve sat in the sterile hospital room of your own “But if not” situation. Maybe you’ve fervently prayed and the Lord has not delivered in the way you’d hoped. The cancer came back. The marriage was not restored. The baby didn’t make it. There was no new job offer.
My husband and I have sat in several of our own “But if not” situations this past year. And we are not alone. So many dear friends and family members have walked through the same. You pray. You cry. You mourn with those who mourn. Sometimes you get angry and must repent of the roots of bitterness the enemy would love to see take root in the soil of your heart.
And here is where we come back to the words of Daniel’s friends and the encouragement for my heart. They were resolute. Their hearts and minds made up. Our God is able to deliver. But if not… if He doesn’t deliver in the manner we think best, with the outcome we want most, He is still God.
But if not… we still trust Him.
But if not… He is still good.
But if not… He is still sovereign.
But if not… He is still my God.