Dan. 3:17-18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
It was probably the hardest trial I’d faced in my 26 years of living. I was driving down a main thoroughfare in Lawrence, Kansas, and my car started huffing and puffing, like it was about to die. It had been doing this for weeks. We had two children, lived in a ghetto, and barely made ends meet from week to week. My Dad died suddenly and our car was too iffy to drive the eight hours to the funeral. Our pastor loaned us his vehicle so we could go home and bury my Dad. Right after that, the knock on the door was the landlord, telling us that if we didn’t pay our month overdue rent soon, he’d have to evict us.Our car was a frustrating problem that angered me. In that frustration, I said to the Lord when I was alone, “We’re not quitting! It doesn’t matter what happens, we’re not quitting!” Tears streamed down my face. The truth is, I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up, go back to Arkansas, live in a little house with a white picket fence and try to grow flowers. I was tried of the ghetto, tired of the faulty car, tired of being broke. We worked in the jail ministry, Sunday School, soul winning, choir, and volunteered wherever we were needed. And all of this while my husband was on thirds at work. It felt like the least the Lord could do is keep a roof over our heads and our car running!
That day, I had a choice to make: would I serve the Lord even if He took the roof from over my head? Would I keep serving even if I broke down (right across from KU of all places!) and I had to walk home? Would I serve the Lord if He left me in the ghetto forever? I decided yes. Yes, I would.
I’m not in the ghetto anymore. I haven’t been that close to eviction since that day in Lawrence. But, I’m in a trial. I’m weary, I want to quit. I feel forsaken, forgotten, and fruitless. I have a choice to make: will I keep serving the Lord, even if I never see His hand in my life (in a tangible way) again? If I remain alone forever, will I stay faithful to Him? The tears stream down my cheeks, I can’t stop them. My heart is heavy with a desire to do more for His cause and tired of fighting Satan who is hindering every tiny effort I make. I’m tired…so very tired.
The three Hebrew boys were ready to take God’s promises to the bank in the verse above. They said “Our God can take care of this fiery furnace, no problem!” Then, they had to face this stark possibility: what if He didn’t? What if they died? We know the ending, but they didn’t. And yet, they boldly declare “BUT IF NOT,…we will NOT serve thy gods nor worship thy golden image…” That’s courage. That’s faith. That’s what I want! Everyone wants to serve God when He’s allowing souls to be saved in church, or when He’s sending us a check in the mail everyday, or when He’s answering every prayer we pray.
But, what about when He seems to have moved away? What about the times He says “No”. What if He says, “I’m giving you opposition” or “I’m not going to meet that need”? What then? Can we say “I’m serving You, no matter what, Lord!” or will we quit?
By the way, the Lord sent us the money to catch up on our rent through an amazing source. He also sent the money to us to get our car repaired. And, three months after my Dad went to Heaven, the Lord allowed us to move to Texas, out of the ghetto.
Are you ready to give up? Are you so sad today, you can barely stop the tears for a moment? Me too. Let’s not give up, okay? Let’s keep going! Let’s say with faith that God CAN take care of these problems, but let’s go ahead and add, “But if not, I’m serving You anyway!”
And then, let’s wait for the miracle!