But If Not...

Those three words are some of the most powerful words of faith in the entire Bible and for me, have come to represent real, living faith in its purest form.

What is faith? How do you trust that what you believe needs to happen will happen? When it doesn't, what do you do? Is God asleep? Are you alone in your suffering? How do you have faith in something that very well might not happen whether you pray or not?

You're up against the wall. The tests came back positive. Your job suddenly disappears. Your loved one is dying. The bills keep coming and you have no way to pay them all. What do you have faith in? Where is God?

Three very courageous young men set a shining example of what attitude to have when they faced certain death for not giving in to powerful pressures. In the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood nose-to-nose with the king and refused to bow down to his idol.

"Will your God save you?" the king smirked.

"He's certainly bigger than any fire you could build, king," they answered. "And yes, He could save us."

Without blinking, they plunged on into the real heart of faith. "BUT IF NOT, O King..."

They acknowledged God's power to rescue them, but in doing so, acknowledged that He had the freedom not to if He so chose. And that is the essence of faith. Not commanding God to do our will by invoking some mind game we have named faith-prayer. It is in submitting totally to His control, no matter what that means for our immediate situation.

It is my goal to pray in faith believing God hears and answers and can send immediate help. But I want to go that one step further and say, "But if not, O Lord, I still trust you."


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