Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

What if God Doesn't Change Our Circumstances?

father and son looking out window

Many of our prayers involve asking God to change something in our lives. We ask for healing, rescue from pain, for a better life, and for stable situations. We often ask God to change our circumstances, and there is a biblical model for this happening. Throughout Scripture, we see stories of God’s redemption in impossible circumstances. This miraculous intervention occurs as Daniel walks out of the lions’ den unharmed, as Moses walks out of the Red Sea on dry land, as David walks out of battle with Goliath, and as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk out of the fiery furnace unburned.

“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.” - Daniel 3:17-18

The miracle is that they safely walked out. Yet the faith story is that they ever walked in.

Miraculous redemption was not promised as these saints walked into these situations. As they walked in, they were well aware of the fact that they were walking into certain death. Period. There was no guarantee, no promise, and no certainty that they would ever walk back out again. Yet it was their faith that compelled them to stand against the undefeatable. It was faith that compelled them to walk into battles with giants, blazing fires, and lions' dens because without faith these situations could have easily been avoided. Without faith, and without trust, they could have easily taken the easy way out.

They could have simply complied with what everyone else around them was doing, set aside their beliefs and momentarily justified bowing to statues, praying to kings, finding routes out of Egypt that didn’t involve armies and seas, and could have waited for someone else to fight giants. To do the easy thing would have been easy, safe, and justifiable. Their friends would have understood and they would have lived another day. Yet they chose to walk and live in the faith of, “but if not.”

When we stand in frightening situations, we stand knowing that our God is able to save us from fires and lions, and we pray that He chooses to do so as he did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Yet as they said to the king, they went to their fate knowing that God may not save them. This may well have been the end of their story – promising young lives stolen away by a refusal to just deny their God this one time.

But if not: Willing to accept whatever comes.

“...if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” - Daniel 3:15

We walk into the same dangers, knowing that God is powerful enough to save us at any time, in any way, and at any moment. We pray for healing, safety, sunny days, and an easy path.

  • But if not, we must still walk in.
  • But if not, he still receives the glory.
  • But if not, we praise him regardless.
  • But if not, we still trust that suffering a death while trusting in him is still eternally better than giving in to the momentary weakness of denying him, and denying that which we know to be truth.

To avoid walking in is to deny that He can, and so in faith we walk in to the danger, ready to accept that He may not.

Just as there are many examples of God redeeming believers from horrible situations, there are also many examples of times that they do not get that comfort. 

  • Stephen faced death by stoning.
  • Paul faced prison and execution.
  • Early believers faced persecution from both Gentiles who did not trust their new Jewish faith, and Jews who did not accept their lack of adherence to the law.
  • Even Jesus himself prayed that he could avoid the pain of the cross. Yet this was not to be.

What Does it Mean for Us?

I often find myself begging God to save me from horrible situations. They are not always life and death, and they are not always the fire, the giant, the lion, or the sea. Yet they often feel that way, and always bring pain, fear, and uncertainty. When these situations arise, I want to do all I can to avoid going in.

I pray with all my might, “please God don’t make me go in there!” Yet His reply is so often along the lines of, “I fight your battles. I shut the mouths of lions, I calm storms with a word, and I move the mountains. I may perform a miracle. I may not. That is not your concern. Your job is to trust that I Am who I Am. Now walk in.”

Believers today face daily attacks from all over the planet. As we in the United States live in relative comfort and ease, we must live as if that comfort could be gone at any moment, because it could. We must live as though our faith is in direct opposition to all that culture states as right and good. Because it does.

So many before us have chosen persecution and pain simply because they refuse to bow down to things that aren’t Gods. They refused to deny the truth of God. They knew that their lives were bought with a price, and were no longer their own. Their belief in Jesus was more important than any temporary comfort this world could ever offer them.

And so, as we live out our faith, we must be willing to embrace that the God who is capable of performing mighty miracles and parting seas may simply not do so. And we have to be okay with that. Because when the choice comes, and we have to decide whether to stand firm and face persecution, or justify bowing down to it in fear, there really is no choice. We are walking in.

Photo credit: ©Getty/WestEnd61

Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.


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