Today in our series on “Life Can Be Tough, But God Is Good”, we are going to be challenged from the scriptures to remain faithful to God, even if our circumstances are bad and God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers the way we want.
One of the hardest situations for some Christians to remain faithful to God is when things are not going well and God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we are asking Him to. When God has a different plan than what we want. It’s during those times that our faith has to say, I’m staying faithful to God “Even If” He doesn’t choose to answer my prayer, my way.
The expression “Even If” means we’ve already decided to stay faithful to God even before we know what the outcome is going to be.
Today we are going to see three young Hebrew men who are put in a pressure situation, but they chose to stay faithful to God, even if God didn’t choose to save them from the punishment that they were going to be facing. Their decision had an outcome that was not just a matter of losing their job, but losing their life.
Let’s look at Dan. 3:8-30 NKJV and see what we learn about the decision to be faithful to God “Even If”:
- Even If means, I put God first even when others are not. V.12.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, made of gold. Even though it seemed that everyone else was bowing down to the idol, these three young men refused to do so. They were going to face more than losing their jobs, but they were in a high position that meant a lot to them. It’s a challenge to ask ourselves to see if we are putting God first before our jobs, our success, and our recognition.
- Even If means, I refuse to give in to the pressure of others. V.13-15.
King Nebuchadnezzar was furious about their disobedience to bow before his idol. He brought them in, gave them a good talking to, and put the pressure on to bow or face the furnace. The three young men did not hesitate that they would not bow to the idol, no matter what the king said or did. Sometimes we face peer pressure or the pressure of those over us to give in to what they are doing. It’s a challenge to us today to see if we refuse to give in to the pressure of others and waiver in our faithfulness to God.
- Even If means, I trust God to take care of me, no matter the consequences. V.16-18.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego quickly answered the king that their God was well able to deliver them, but even if He chose not to, they still would not change their stand with God. We sometimes face situations where giving in for the moment seems a lot easier, but these three would not change their stand. It’s a challenge for us to ask ourselves if we will stand for God no matter the consequences at the moment.
- Even If means, I trust God when He doesn’t answer my prayers, my way. V.19-23.
I’m sure that these three Hebrew men were praying that God would deliver them from the fiery furnace, but in what seemed like an instance, they were thrown into the furnace at a temperature 7 times normal. At that moment, it seemed like God was not answering their prayers. We face a lot of situations in life where we desperately want God to answer our prayers a certain way, but sometimes God has other plans. It’s a challenge to ask ourselves if we will still serve God even if He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to.
- Even If means, I believe that God works all things together for my good. V.26-30.
This story ends with an amazing miracle of the three young Hebrew men surviving the fiery furnace without even the smell of smoke on them. God definitely worked all things for their good. We have to be reminded that our circumstances don’t always end like this one did, but God does work all things for our good. It’s a challenge to us: do we really believe He does?