Saturday, November 29, 2014

But If Not

What is your faith based on?

You might say, "I have faith that God will bless me if I follow the commandments." Or perhaps, "I have faith in good times to come," or, "I have faith that God will deliver me from my troubles."

Well, that sounds great. But what if you don't feel like you are being blessed? What if good times don't come? What if trials and tribulations follow you around your whole life, and no matter how hard you try, you can't be rid of them? 

What then? Is your faith going to disappear the moment your life takes a turn for the worst and you feel like God has stopped blessing you and answering your prayers?

Consider the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. They were told that if they would not bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar's idol, they would be thrown in the fire to die. They responded by saying:
17 - 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.
18 - 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)

What do you think these men based their faith on? Signs, miracles, and God-given perfect lives? Do you think they expected things of God like some people do today (and surely also did back then)? No, I think their faith was based on something higher - trust in God, His plan, and His timing. God would rescue them from the fire, but if not - if that wasn't His will - then they would worship and trust in Him still. 

Friends, life doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes we are asked to endure a very hard trial, and no matter how often or how hard we pray, sometimes things don't get any easier. 

Why? Well, sometimes we are asked to endure trials because they strengthen us. We learn to trust in God and we gain perspective when we experience challenges. That's how it should work, anyways, but some people don't let themselves be strengthened. They choose to give up on God and let go of their faith. 

Will this be you? Are you going to hold on to faith as long as things go your way - but let go as soon as God's will doesn't line up with yours? Or are you willing to trust that God is all-knowing, infinitely loving, and always has a plan? 

He does always have a plan. He is always looking out for you. He is forever waiting for you to stretch out your hand and commit to follow Him no matter what. 

I will choose to follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. 
Because I know that God can take away my sorrow and heartache - but if not;
I know that God can give me a successful and full life - but if not;
I know that God will deliver me from financial woes - but if not;
I know that God will bless me with a healthy body - but if not;

If not, I will trust in Him still. I will not succumb, I will not let go of my faith. Because my faith isn't founded on a perfect life. It isn't founded on the belief that God will always fulfill my wishes. My faith is built on something higher. My faith is in God's will, God's plan, and God's timing, not my own.

Let us all choose to follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and have faith in God no matter what He has planned for us.



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