But if not.

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went into the fiery furnace.

The LORD did not change Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not worship the Babylonian gods and they did not worship the golden image Nebuchadnezzar set up. And for this, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. God did not stop this from happening.

While battling this unknown and debilitating illness these past eight months, it has become more and more apparent to me that God doesn’t always save us from going into the fire.

He is able to. He is more than able to. As the three men proclaim, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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.” (3:17)

God is more than able to save–to heal. We worship a God who we cannot exaggerate. He is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or think. I believe with all my heart that God is able to heal my broken body.

The three men continue, “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.” (18).

But if not.

No matter the outcome, God’s character would not change. He wouldn’t become less good, less able, or less powerful.

God did not save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from going into the fiery furnace.

God did not deliver them from going into the fire. He delivered them in the fire. He met them in the fire.

We are not always saved from going into the fires of this life. We are not promised health, wealth, and prosperity. We are not promised immunity from suffering. I am reminded every moment of every day that I have not been spared from physical suffering.

God may choose to allow us to go into the fire, but this I know to be true: He meets us in there. He doesn’t leave us in the fire alone. He hasn’t left me in this fire alone. And He will not leave you.

He hasn’t rescued me from this fiery furnace yet. And, perhaps, He might, in His infinite wisdom, choose not to. But, He is with me. He is committed to my good and to His glory. In this valley of deep darkness, my Shepherd sustains me and satisfies me. He is slowly but surely rescuing me from self-reliance and self-worship. He is rescuing me from working to save myself. He is rescuing me from misplaced hope. In this fiery furnace, He is rescuing me from me.

I wouldn’t know what I know now if I had never gotten sick. And, I am thankful for that.

God doesn’t always save us from going into the fire. Sometimes He saves us in the fire. And, sometimes He doesn’t. In all things He is wise. In all things He is working for our good and for His glory. In all things He is good.

He is more than able. But if not, He is still good.

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One thought on “But if not.

  1. Shara, this is absolutely inspired blog post. It’s a lesson I’ve learned so many times in my life. I’ve met so many people with chronic illness throughout my life, and many of them take much longer than eight months to learn a lesson like this! All the time God is good, God is good all the time! Hallelujah!

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