Friday, September 6, 2013

But, if not...

Every morning I have a short devotional I read using the bible app on my phone. For the last few months, I've been using the devotions written by the ministry She Reads Truth. The devotions are written by women and for women. The topics are almost always relevant to something I'm dealing with.

The current series is on Daniel, and this morning as we reached chapter 3, some popular characters arrived on the scene: Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego (or Rack, Shack & Benny, if you prefer VeggieTale nicknames). If you grew up hearing bible stories, it's likely you've heard this one. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and commanded all to bow to it and worship it when the horns, harps or any kind of music was sounded. Those refusing to do so would be placed in the fiery furnace.

Being fully devoted followers, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego refused to worship the golden image. So, of course King Nebuchadnezzar summoned them. He gave them an opportunity to deny their "crime." Here's where the story gets really good. The three friends told the king they trusted their God to deliver them from the fiery furnace and from the king's hand. Then comes verse 18: 

"But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

If you've heard the story before, you probably remember that God did indeed deliver these three friends from the fiery furnace and even make a believer out of King Nebuchadnezzar. But, for me, the beauty in today's passage was in verse 18. That simple phrase, "but if not..."

These three men were so devoted in their faith they didn't require a guarantee that they'd be rescued or even kept from harm for their devotion. Many times I think because I've prayed about something and I've trusted God's will on a matter that it should be all roses and sunshine. 

God never promised us this life would be easy. In fact, His word says quite the opposite through His faithful servant, Paul: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance." Romans 5:3. In I Peter 3:17, we read: "For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil."

But, this is not just a post on praising Him in your suffering. This is about praising Him even if He never delivers you from that suffering. Would I have the faith to say, "But if not..." 

Dear God, 
Heal my broken-hearted friend, strengthen my sister, help people to move on, surround my struggling friend, put an end to the disappointment, honor your servants, BUT IF are still good.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We'll call it a First Date

Now that big brother is in kindergarten until 3:00, little brother and I eat a lot of lunches alone. Every now and then, we stop by Chick-fil-A, but most days is just a sandwich. 

On the days Sam goes to preschool, I pick him up at noon. Almost immediately he wants to know what's next. Typically, I tell him we're heading home for lunch and ask what he wants. Standard answer is a cheese sandwich. Oh, and star-shaped. And he'll add that he'll help make the star.

Today I asked him after pick up what he wanted for lunch. He said, "how about a taco?!" I chuckled and recommended we stop by the bell and pick one up. He said, "no...I want us to go to El Patron!" I considered it an invitation. So, to El Patron we went, and it was five bucks well spent. Taco for him, tortillas for me and cheese dip for us. 

Already looking forward to our next date!