i remember coming across a girl’s instagram bio, and she had written a phrase that i had heard many times: “and if not, He is still good.” what was different about her bio was that she included a reference to daniel 3:18. honestly, i had heard that phrase before but never really investigated if it was in scripture or if it was just one of those things christians say. immediately, i googled it, and so many articles popped up about this saying and the scripture it references. when i investigated deeper into this passage, i found the message of this phrase much different, but has been much more powerful in my life.
if you grew up in the church like me, you might remember the story of the 3 men who were thrown into the fiery furnace. veggie tales does a stunning rendition ;) if you didn't grow up in the church, i'll try to give you the short version. essentially, there was a king who was requiring all of his subjects to bow down and worship an idol of gold he created- and there were 3 men (shadrach, meshach and abednego) who refused to do so. they were brought before the king, and when they refused again, they were thrown into a fiery furnace that scripture says was so hot that the soldiers who were in charge of pushing them into the flames were instantly killed upon coming close to it. an angel of God protected them in the furnace, and the king believed in God and changed his ways.
whenever i heard this story growing up, the emphasis was always on the angel God sent to protect these men- which is definitely a testament to God showing up in hard times. but as i read this story with the lens of this saying, i realized the power in this story came from the unwavering faith these men had in God. daniel 3:17-18 says "if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your majesty’s hand. but even if He does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
for me, this story became much more about the need for putting my faith and trust in God. it's easy to say, "God's got it under control" or "it's all in God's plan" and then just sit back and not really believe it. these things are absolutely true, don’t get me wrong. but i've been convicted recently of saying i believe that God is taking care of things, or that i've turned them over to God, when in reality i'm worrying and complaining about them way more than i'm praying about them. i'm not living out this "and if not" mentality because i'm still holding on tightly to my desired outcome instead of believing His plan is greater than my own. i focus so often on the fact that God is able to change any and every situation and leave out the fact that sometimes (okay most of the time) what i want is not what's ultimately best for my life.
what areas of your life are you struggling to live out this message? how can i come alongside you and encourage you in growing in this area?