The Fiery Furnace: before the fire or after?

In our small class on Sundays we are going through the book of Daniel, and recently we talked about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Are you familiar with this story?

As we were talking about what these three chose to do, and how they stood on that decision, something dawned on me in regards to the story. I think so often we are caught up in the end of this story. It is miraculous, so I don't blame anyone (not even myself) for that focus, but I wanted to go back to the beginning of the story.

Daniel 3 16 18

Sometimes I feel as if I am a doubter because I refuse to say God will handle a situation in a certain way. I see this world we live in. I see the wars, the pain, the hurt, the death, the tears, and I know that not everything that happens ends as we would define "well." So when I would cross paths with verse like James 1:6-8 -- {"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."} -- well, sometimes I struggle. How do I ask for God to save a person, cease a war, reconcile a relationship, or feed the children when I know that sometimes it simply doesn't happen? Is that doubt? 

Where does the line of faith and doubt fall? Where does the line of faith and "name it claim it" lie? I struggled.

Looking at the fiery furnace story I think I have found my balance. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn't know how the story would end, but they refused to put their faith in anything but God despite that unknown factor. Did they doubt? I don't think so. Their faith was simply in the God above rather than the ending they hoped for.

home in God  

I don't want to define what God does. I don't want to have faith in what I think will happen. I want to have faith in God. I want to leave room for the mysterious and the messy. I want to leave room for his support, guidance, and strength in the hard times. I don't want to lie to myself and say hard times wont happen. I want to trust that despite what this world brings to my front door, God is still God and He is still stronger than the one who is in this world, and I can trust Him to take care of me. No matter what.

That's the hard part sometimes, isn't it?

No, wars will not cease. Yes, family will still die. No, there are no fairy tale endings. Yes, things will seem confusing and chaotic. No, that doesn't mean God isn't active and alive. It doesn't mean anyone has more power than He has. It simply means God is God, and his thoughts are above ours, and He has given us free will to live this life He has given us. He loves us, and no matter the circumstances He will always love us and never leave us.

It's a fine balance, isn't it?

And for those of my generation who had kids at the same time as I did, I leave you with the Bunny Song. If you choose to click on that link don't blame me for the song being in your head all day long.


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