“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
“But even if He does not . . . .”
These words of blind faith
taunt me even.
You know the story.
The young Hebrews boys in captivity, standing before King Nebuchadnezzar
resisting his command.
“We will not worship the golden image!”
The King’s death sentence.
They insist their God is able to rescue them, but they don’t presume that is what He will do.
I have a journal full of “God Stories,” moments in time where God has intervened in my life and rescued me in my distress.
But a new chapter is being written.
What if the rescue does not come?
American Christianity has told me,
“Hang on . . . it will all be fine.”
Or “God will come to the rescue.”
“Your best life now!”
These overly positive messages are short-sighted and harmful.
They don’t paint the bigger picture of life in this world and the suffering that accompanies it. Recently, I’ve seen the depths of suffering in my life and others’ that has surmounted anything I’ve ever known. A moment in time where a prayer was left unanswered resulting in the death of my best friend.
Others struggling in ill health and devastating diagnoses.
None of us immune.
The Bible says trials test our faith to produce patience.
This made me think of the greater story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Daniel Chapter One tells us how King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and carried away captives to serve in his palace.
The three Hebrew boys were with them. What death and suffering did their eyes see as they were dragged from their homeland?
Did they cry to God for rescue?
The text doesn’t share in detail all that gives me curiosity. We do know they were not rescued from captivity but were forced to serve the king of Babylon.
What the text does show is the quiet presence of God with them in their suffering. Deliverance from eating the defiled food of the king’s table was one rescue God provided along the way. They must have looked at each other in joy knowing God had gone with them into captivity.
Their statement to Nebuchadnezzar when challenged to submit to the king’s rule is full of quiet confidence.
This stand made in history got Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown into a blazing furnace.
And yet . . .
God did not rescue them from their accusers,
but stood with them in the fire, protecting them from the flames.
Their suffering had produced patience.
“the capacity to accept
or tolerate delay,
trouble, or suffering
without getting angry or upset.”
There is a place in my suffering where I have had to surrender my unknowns to the LORD. It has been in those quiet moments that I have been made fully aware of His quiet presence. He is working a calm confidence in me.
 Four Hebrew slaves are named in Daniel 1:6: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. For whatever reason, Daniel is not remembered by his “slave name,” Belteshazzar; but we are most familiar with the Babylonian names given to Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego of fiery furnace fame.