You know the story: the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar sets up a 90-foot tall golden statue and commands everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego – three Jews taken from fallen Jerusalem who serve King Neb – refuse to bow. King Neb is furious and demands that they bow or be thrown into the fiery furnace. And here is their reply:
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
As I was thinking about this today, I considered it in terms of the struggles we encounter in life. Struggles with tough relationships, broken dreams, ill health, tight finances, and all the rest of it. We pray in faith for deliverance from all these things ... but what happens when God does not deliver? If you’re like me, you tend to struggle with bitterness, resentment, anger, and doubt. In other words, I tend to respond to God’s “No” by turning AWAY from God instead of TOWARD God in worship and trust.
How would it change our lives – particularly our faith and relationship with God – if we took Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego as our model? Here is how our prayers might sound:
“God, I serve you with all my heart. I affirm that you are able to deliver me from the current trouble I am facing. But if you choose not to – if you choose instead to let me suffer in this fire – then I affirm that I am not going to turn away from you. No matter what, you are my Lord and I will serve you and worship you and trust you and love you, today and every day.”
What if we prayed this way?
What if we lived this way?