Things weren’t looking too good. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stared into the fire as the flames leaped higher and higher.
“You have one more chance,” the Babylonian King told them. “You must bow down and worship the statue of me, or I will have you thrown into the fire.”
I wonder what raced through their minds. They had been faithful to God; they had not worshipped the idol. Surely God would rescue them! Surely, God wouldn’t allow them to be killed!
Their words teach us something amazing about faith, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.’” (Daniel 3:16-18)
The three men believed that God could save them! But even if He didn’t …
How do you have faith when the things you believe for aren’t happening? How do you have faith that God is good when bad things happen?
Hebrews 11 is often called the Faith Chapter. It lists many heroes of the faith, men and women who believed God against all odds, who had faith in God even when it looked like God wasn’t faithful.
Verse 39 says this, “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised…”.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you had faith that God would do something, and then He didn’t? Maybe you prayed that a sick person would live, but God took them to heaven anyway. Maybe you prayed that you wouldn’t have to move away from your school and friends, but you did anyway. Maybe you prayed that God would help you do well on a test and then you failed. Maybe you don’t understand what’s going on, or why God allows some things to happen.
When I feel this way, I am comforted by 2 Timothy 1:12, “That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (emphasis added)
One weekend, my husband and I were driving through downtown Washington D.C. We were supposed to meet some friends for a baseball game, but as we wound through construction and down one-way streets, we got hopelessly lost—at least I did. I had no idea where we were going and I could see the lights of the stadium behind us. But I know my husband. He’s an incredible navigator. I knew he would get me there safely even if it looked for all the world like he was going the wrong direction. And sure enough, he got us to the baseball game on time!
You see, the secret is not what we believe. The power of our faith is not that we simply have faith, or even that we have hope. There will always be things we don’t understand and things that don’t seem to match up with what we believe about God. We may not understand what God is doing, but we have faith in who God is.
There’s a wonderful hymn called, “It is Well With My Soul”, written by a man who learned that what mattered most was who he trusted, not what he believed God would do. In our next conversation about sacred songs, I will tell you his story. Until then, go read the rest of Daniel 3!