The Israelites had been taken captive in Babylon, forced to serve under King Nebuchadnezzar. Only a small handful of Israelites had remained loyal to God.
King Nebuchadnezzar built a towering gold statue and ordered everyone to bow down and worship. Anyone who refused would be thrown into the fiery furnace, cast away to their death.
But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused. They had a firm foundation in their faith, in their commitment to God.
And, they were caught and turned over to Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:14-18
We all know the outcome: King Nebuchadnezzar threw three men into the furnace, but when he looked up, there were four men walking around inside the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar called the men out of the furnace, unscathed. He proclaimed God’s greatness, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
It’s a great story, one of God’s undeniable power. It’s a great testimony of three men who faced death and remained committed to their faith, to their God. It’s a great message of God’s ability to rescue His people from certain death.
But I think what I love most about this story is the declaration that God is able to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but even if he doesn’t the men chose never to serve any other god or image except the one true God.
Even if He doesn’t…
Even if He doesn’t save my marriage.
Even if He doesn’t heal my child.
Even if He doesn’t provide me with a new job.
Even if He doesn’t save me from bankruptcy court.
Even if He doesn’t give me a relationship with my estranged father.
Even if He doesn’t rescue my spouse from addiction.
Whatever your even if He doesn’t might be.
I will never serve any other god or worship the gold statue you have set up.
I wish I could say I’ve always had an even if He doesn’t kind of faith. I wish I could say that eight years I declared, “Even if you don’t save my marriage, I will always worship you.”
Truth is, that was not my response. Not even close. I would like to believe that today, after years of experiencing His faithfulness, His love, His tender mercies, I hope I would join Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in that declaration.
I hope I have even if He doesn’t kind of faith now.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe you are facing a crisis of belief, wondering why God hasn’t stepped into your circumstances. Maybe your faith is wavering in the midst of a situation that leaves you wondering where is God, why He hasn’t rescued you. Maybe you are floundering in your pain, in your anguish, wondering if you will ever again serve the God you once loved and proclaimed.
I have good news! Even if you don’t have even if He doesn’t kind of faith right now, maybe your circumstances are designed to build the very faith you long for. Maybe you are on the verge of growing an even if He doesn’t kind of faith.
Here’s some truths about an even if He doesn’t kind of faith…
Faith that says even if He doesn’t is built over a long period of time.
Daniel and his friends made a decision when they were taken captive in Babylon not to defile themselves with the rich foods of the Babylonians. They were committed to God, to following His ways, to living the way they had been taught from childhood. They didn’t start building an even if He doesn’t faith when they arrived in Babylon; they had been growing an even if He doesn’t faith from their childhood.
An even if He doesn’t faith is built over years. It’s built when we repeatedly choose God’s ways over our own momentary pleasure. It’s a faith that if built by making a decision to walk according to God’s ways.
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Daniel 1:8
Faith that says even if He doesn’t is cultivated by God walking you through the trials of this life.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not have an easy life. They were taken from their home in Jerusalem, living as captives in a foreign land. Because of the incredible wisdom God had given them, they were prime targets for others who were jealous. They had survived an imprisonment and an execution order.
Repeatedly, as they sought to remain true to the God of Israel, they saw God come through for them over and over. He gave them favor with the captain of the guard. He gave Daniel the ability to interpret the king’s dream, saving them from execution. And now, even as they stood before the fiery furnace, they were confident their God—the God who had rescued them repeatedly—was able.
And that’s how it is with us. The more we walk through the fire, the more we see His faithfulness. The more we experience His faithfulness, the more confident we become in His ability to rescue us. The more confident we become in His goodness, the more likely we are to have an even if He doesn’t faith.
The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed.And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends. >Daniel 2:12-13
Faith that says even if He doesn’t is firmly grounded in the character of God.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were convinced God was able. They were convinced He was good. They were convinced He was faithful to His people even when they were faithless. They were convinced He would rescue His people after they had suffered for a while. They were convinced He was true to His word, faithful to keep His promises.
To have even if He doesn’t kind of faith, we must know God’s character, that He is a good Father who loves His children and does what is best. We must be grounded in a faith built on His character.
if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
Faith that says even if He doesn’t understands God isn’t confined by human understanding.
So often, we want to put God in a box, confine Him to how we believe He should act and intervene in our situations. We think He should always heal our marriage, our loved ones. We think He should always provide for our physical needs in accordance with our limited understanding. We think He should open doors in our time, in our ways.
Maybe we don’t admit to that line of thinking, but our actions betray our beliefs. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood that God is not confined, that His purposes are often accomplished outside human understanding. They understood that often God allows circumstances—painful circumstances that seem contrary to His good nature—to point the world back to Him, to create good for our lives and give His Father glory. They understood that we don’t always understand the bigger picture.
Even if He doesn’t faith trusts that God knows better than we do.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9.
I don’t know about you, but I long to build an even if He doesn’t faith. It’s not easy. It’s a process, of process of walking in obedience, of learning His character. It’s a process of walking through the painful circumstances and seeing Him bring beauty from the ashes. It’s about allowing God to be God instead of expecting Him to act as we think He should.
And as we do these things, we will find ourselves learning to say, “Even if He doesn’t…”
*Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three amazing kids. Her greatest desire is to use her darkest days—days marred by adultery and divorce—to encourage others to find the joy of a life restored by Jesus Christ.
Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization with a mission of bringing hope to lives broken by the pain of this world. Her first book, Picking Up the Pieces: Rebuilding Your Life After the Storms of Adultery and Divorce, will be released later this year.
In her spare time, Dena works as a Registered Nurse and is a regular contributor at Crosswalk.com. If you would like to contact Dena, please feel free to interact with her on her blog Dena Johnson Ministries or email her at [email protected]