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What if You Risk Everything and God Doesn't Come Through?

What if You Risk Everything and God Doesn't Come Through?

Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 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 3:13-18 NLT

I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They had such amazing faith, faith that led them to stand in defiance of the king's order to bow down and worship an idol. They were committed to serving God, to bowing to him only. They knew the penalty for their disobedience to the king, and yet they walked in faith to God. They reverenced God more than they feared the blazing hot furnace.

There they stood, watching the furnace being heated. The king gave them one last chance to change their minds, to bow down and worship the idols.

And that’s when they made their bold declaration, “Our God is able to save us.”

As they stared at the fire, they proclaimed their faith once again—and their defiance against the king’s orders. They proclaimed that their God is able to save them!

But they didn’t stop there.

"But even if he doesn't…"

Maybe it was a moment of weakness. Maybe it was a dose of reality, their true fear of the situation showing through. Maybe they were doubting just a bit as they felt the heat from the fire. Maybe it was just to save face in case God failed to show up.

I don’t know exactly what the men were thinking in that moment, but they expressed the possibility that God might not save them. He was able; but was he willing?

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever stepped out in faith, believing God was able? Have you ever put everything on the line for God, knowing without a doubt that he had called you?

What if you risk everything and God doesn’t come through? What then?

Wait. That’s not possible, you might be thinking. God is able. If he calls us, he always provides. He cannot lie. His promises are forever and always, yes and amen.

Or maybe, like me, you've been there. You've believed with all your heart that God has told you something. He’s confirmed his word to you repeatedly, through scripture and through others. You’ve staked your reputation on his word.

And he fails you.

We don’t want to admit that sometimes we are disappointed by God. He doesn’t answer our prayers, at least not the way we expected him to. Maybe it’s a prayer for healing for ourselves or someone we love. Maybe it’s prayers to save our marriage, to rescue our spouse from that adulterous relationship. Maybe it’s prayers to turn a wayward child back to God.

I don’t know what it is in your life, but I know I’ve been there. I’ve been in that place where I felt that God failed me, where I was disappointed by his actions—or lack of action. I’ve been in that place where I wondered why I should continue to follow him if he wasn’t faithful to keep his promises. I’ve wondered if I should continue to serve him if he is able, but not willing.

Many of us don’t want to admit that sometimes we feel like God has failed us, that he has failed to hold up his end of the bargain. We somehow feel that we are to blame—maybe our faith wasn’t strong enough or we didn’t pray hard enough or we misinterpreted his word. Somehow it’s not allowed to admit that God didn’t come through for us.

So what do we do when God fails us, when our lives fall apart, when his promises seem to fail?

Understand that his ways are higher than our ways. When my marriage fell apart, I begged God to put it back together, to heal us, to bring my husband to repentance for his adultery. Day after day, I fell to my knees seeking his face, seeking his healing. And yet, my husband chose to continue walking away from God and me, ultimately leading to divorce.

I’ve had to grapple with the collision of God’s sovereignty with man’s free will. While God is always able, sometimes man is not willing to go along with his plan. Man’s hard-heart limits how God can work. But, in his sovereignty, God will not allow his plan for your life to be de-railed because of something another has done to you. He will use all of the heartache and the pain to make something beautiful in you…if you let him.

The more I get to know God, the more I come to realize that I am a finite human being with a finite understanding of the infinite Creator and Sustainer of the universe. I cannot grasp, cannot understand, his ways, his thoughts, his plans.

And when I cannot understand, I must trust that he is still in control. Life often seems to be spiraling out of control. We find ourselves grasping for anything that will help us maintain some semblance of control, make some sense of the storm swirling all around us.

Sometimes, we simply cannot understand. We are near-sighted, unable to see from God’s perspective. It’s in those times where we simply must let go, surrender, trust that he knows what he is doing. We must look to his past faithfulness, the promises in his word, and cling to the hope that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must trust him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. We must acknowledge him in all our ways so that he can direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6).

And when we trust that he is in control, we canknow that he will use everything for his glory and our good. While the disappointments we experience are not necessarily God’s will for our lives, nothing can touch us without him allowing it. If he allows it, then he must be using it for some greater purpose.

God’s will was not for my husband to have an affair, not for me to end up divorced. But it happened because of a hardened heart. And God allowed it. In the midst of my darkest days, I didn’t understand how or why. But today, I look back and see how he has used the trials to do an eternal work in my life, to grow my faith and conform me to his image. I see how he has used the most unwanted pain to open doors of ministry for me, to fulfill his purpose for me that he planned long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

Whatever disappointment you are facing, however you feel that God has failed you, know that he will turn it into something beautiful. He will resurrect your life from the dead, and give you a testimony to point the world back to him.

I don’t know what disappointments you are facing. I don’t know how you sense that God has failed you. I don’t know if you stood before the world and proclaimed, “My God is able…”

If you, like me, find yourself in the “even if he doesn’t…” category, don’t let go. Don’t let your finite understanding of the situation cause you to stumble, to fall away from God. Hold tight! Trust that his view of your circumstances is far beyond your understanding. Trust that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Trust that he will take the pain and disappointments and use them for good.

Lord Jesus, life is hard. Sometimes we don’t understand. We are disappointed and even feel forsaken by you. Give us a fresh vision of your goodness, of your grace. Give us confidence to cling to the hope that you are still working in the midst of the devastation, in the silence, to create a testimony of redemption. Give us a confident assurance that you are still in control. Pour out your peace on us as we trust you to do what we cannot. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.

Publication date: September 8, 2015

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