Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Tension Between Doubt and Faith, Part V

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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 3:16-18

This is a beautiful story of courage in the face of suffering.  As the story turns out, they were thrown into the fiery furnace, but God delivered them.  Talk about an exciting adventure that defied the laws of chemistry!

We who know the story, know the ending, so I fear that some of the courage is lost on us.  We like the drama and excitement because we know the story has a happy ending.  But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn't know that.

What I'd like to focus on are six little words in the above story - "But even if he does not..."  And that's really what the tension between doubt and faith boils down to, isn't it?  "Even if he does not"... I will still believe.  I will still trust.  I will still hold fast to the promises recorded in Scripture.

The truth is, this is a hard pill to swallow.  We're so conditioned in Western society (and even the Church) that if we obey, we are rewarded.  If we do what is right, good things will come... or at least not bad things.  But even if it does not... 

I don't have that level of faith yet.  I used to think I did, but in the past two weeks as I've battled with my faith and God's (seeming) lack of provision and care, I realised that I do, in fact, expect him to appear in his red cape and save me from the fiery furnace every time it looms on my horizon.

What gives me hope - what I'm hanging onto tenaciously - is the fact that I don't know the end of my story.  But even if not...

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

Whew. That makes me take some extremely deep breaths. Yes. Hard to swollow. But GOOD!