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But If Not . . .

Recently, I have been watching someone I love go through a very difficult thing. My heart aches for her, as we sit and talk, and run the "what if's" over as she struggles to make sense of her new reality.

As this trial for my loved one has unfolded, I have found myself reflecting on one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

I love this story because of three little words...

But if not...

The Three Amigos, as I lovingly call them (please don't thrust me down to hell for that one...) refuse to bow down to the King's idols. The King is angry, and tells his servants to make his fiery furnace seven times hotter than usual so he can burn these guys alive. The King mocks them, and says that if they didn't fall down and worship his idol properly, he would thrust them into the fiery furnace and they would burn to death. And really, who did they think would deliver them? Not their silly God. He, their King, was the one with all the power.

I love this next part...

My Three heroes say: " If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to adeliver 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 aserve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up"


But if not...

Essentially they were saying that they know that God could deliver them from the Kings hands, but if not, they would never stop believing in their God, and they would never turn their hearts from Him.

At various times we are all thrown into "the fiery furnace" with things we wish the Lord would take away. Things that we would rather not have to deal with or even experience. Sometimes we can pray and pray and pray, and nothing seems to change. That fiery furnace, so to speak is still there. Our trials do not go away...

Some would find themselves wondering where God is? Why is he not answering my righteous desire? That's where the whole but if not business happens.

Sometimes we have to do hard things. We can go to church, read our scriptures, pray, and those hard things are still there, every morning waiting for us. No matter what we do, they just wont go away and we are still in that furnace.

That is when we turn to the but if not phrase... "Lord, I need you take this trial from me. I can't do this anymore. But if not, I will still be true and faithful to you." It's how we react in the but if not part of our lives that the Lord is interested in seeing. And I think, that's the hardest one to give.

I mean, who doesn't want to have their trials removed? I know I do. But if not, I will stand firm. It will be hard but I will not waiver. I know, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did, that the Lord is perfectly capable of delivering us from our own personal "fiery furnaces". However, sometimes he doesn't. And the whole but if not part means that even if my crappy stuff is still here in the morning, I will be steadfast and immovable in my commitment to Christ.

Sometimes our faith is pushed to the very edge, and we have to rely on that but if not principal. We have to trust that even though things aren't turning out the way we want them to, God is still in control and aware of us. We know that Heavenly Father will not try us beyond what we can handle, and further, we know that these trials are what make us not only a better person, but also take us one step closer to being more like Him.

We have to have faith that God will deliver us from the trials of teenagers going astray... but if not...

We have to have faith that God will deliver us from the trials of sick children... but if not...

We have to have faith that God will help us sell our home... but if not...

We have to have faith that God will deliver us from a wayward spouse or a difficult marriage... but if not...

We have to have faith that God will deliver us from the trial of not being able to have children... But if not... We will still believe in God and we will still press forward in Faith.

That is the test that God has sent us here to perform. He wants to see what will happen when we are faced with that but if not part of our faith.

How are you doing?

You can read more posts by motherboard on her blog Crazyland: Tales from the Motherboard.

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