Tuesday, March 7, 2017

He Is Able, But What If He Doesn't?

I have wrestled with more than a few things this last year. In many ways I have wrestled with God and I have wrestled with doubt and fear and confusion. God was silent for much of my struggle, which made it all the more difficult. I would often cry out, if He would just speak or reach out and touch me, all of this would go away. He could heal me spiritually and physically and emotionally. He didn't. Sometimes He does, but not always.]

In the book of Daniel, He did. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were told to fall down and worship a golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. They said no, and the punishment was to be baked alive in a furnace. They replied simply, they said "God can save us, but even if He doesn't, we won't bow down to your statue." The king was furious and threw the three friends in the furnace. When they looked, a fourth man was with them, presumably an angel. They were saved from the fire, they didn't even smell like smoke. God brought them through the fire.

Peter was crucified, James was beheaded, Peter was also beheaded. In fact, of the 12 original disciples, 10 died for their faith. God could have saved them. Paul was saved from a snake bite, ship wreck, was sprung from prison, but he wasn't saved from the axe. Some days we are walking through the fire, but some days the axe lays us bare.

As I share with you tonight, I'm listening to the new song by Mercy Me called Even If. I really appreciate what Bart Millard shares in this song, because even Christian musicians, missionaries, Pastors and even Bloggers and Theologians struggle. Sometimes we are spiritually in the mud, down on our knees in the rain, shouting at the storm. That is how I often feel inside, covered in the mud as the rain pours down. Cold and wet and filthy, looking at the dark sky and crying out from the emptiness. No direction, no hope, nothing but a little chunk of warmth and light in my soul. This little burning ember in my soul that makes it ok. It makes it well. In the mud, I can sing "it is well with my soul" even when my flesh and spirit are in turmoil.

Do you feel me today? I know if you don't right now, you have and you probably will. You recognize the heart in your heart, the lump in your throat and the pounding in your head. The anguish or despair or feeling of being lost and alone. Maybe you have a name for it, maybe you call it despair or depression or anxiety. Maybe it has a more personal name, the name of the person who hurt you, who left you or toss you away. The person who you struggle each day to forgive and the anger comes back to easily. You struggle each day to love and hold back the rage and hurt and bitterness. . You know you must forgive and love and trust, but it's so hard. It's a fire and it threatens to burn you alive. You look at the furnace and you plead for God to spare you from the fire. What if He doesn't?

I know my reaction. I want to collapse under the weight of the pressure of trying to hold it together, to be a strong man, a man of faith, a leader. I am being crushed under the expectations to have it together, to get it together, to hold it together and be all together better. When I've lost and I've failed and I'm wounded and bleeding. I want to collapse, and you know what I've found? That's ok. Sometimes we need to come to the end ourselves to find the beginning of something more.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were going to die. They knew God could save them, but they were bound and as they approached the furnace, they were prepared to die, yet they still stood and would not kneel. I'm not going to make an idol of my strength and my ability, I am going to be bound and led to the fire and prepare to die. I am going to die to myself, to my pride and to my ego. I can't do this on my own. I can't be all the things I'm suppose to be, I can't be superman. I don't have to be. I'm not suppose to be, I'm not the Savior. That is why I trust another, when I have my faith in Christ.

The question that comes back, that I have to ask myself daily is simple. Where am I going to put my trust? Where is my faith? In my ability to be ok? Do I trust in people that they will help me? Do I trust in my job, my ability to make an income? Do I trust in my status as a man, husband, father? Do I get what I need by having a blog that people read or books that people buy? What am I worth? What am I for? What am I even doing? It's simple, my life doesn't exist to do anything but serve the Master who bought me with His blood and His life.

I know He is able and I know He can save me from the fire, but even if He doesn't, I will still trust Him, I will not bow to your idols.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks Dan. So true, each day to know that even if, he is faithful. Enjoyed reading.