A couple of months ago I was sitting in a medical office waiting room and over the speakers heard a Christian song I had never heard before. I jotted it down in my phone and when I got home looked it up. As I listened carefully to the words, I was moved to tears. It hit a chord with the emotion of this year, 2020, and how I was feeling about God.
I immediately began to read and study biblical stories in relation to the song and was again moved at the poignant timing of the message.
The song I listened to was “Even If” by MercyMe. This song is based on the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Babylon with the fiery furnace and King Nebuchadnezzar.
The story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 isn’t just an interesting children’s story. Rather, it goes beyond bedtime stories to a necessary lesson we all must learn when it comes to God and faith. What will we do when faced with challenges, when faced with a fire we must walk through? How will our faith hold up to what may be unanswered prayers?
I know in my own life I have struggled with waiting for answers from God. I find it is hard to wait and hard to understand not getting the answers I feel I need. But then I remember this story, these three young men and their journey of faith in God no matter the answer they got to their prayers.
There is only one way these young men survived the trials they went through. They had forged a relationship with God that was strong like steel.
I use the word forged purposely because a forged relationship is one that goes through multiple stages of construction. My husband knows how to forge metal and as a young man loved to forge knives and metal objects. He has explained to me that forging is a process where you heat up metal, hammer and form it, then heat it up again and repeat until you achieve the desired shape and effect. It isn’t an easy or quick process, and it is painful at times. You are bending, shaping and molding the metal piece.
A relationship with God is really a forged relationship. We are heated up, formed, hammered as we go through life on this planet. But as we remain in God, we are formed ever stronger into the person and character he wants us to be. Our forged relationship is to be based on trust and hope, a relationship that was begun in easier times which has given it the strength to survive the harder times.
This is just the kind of relationship Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had with God. Before they faced the fiery furnace, they had forged a relationship that would last even the most difficult tests. This explains why when faced with a test of allegiance to the God of heaven, when given the choice to worship false gods or to be thrown into a fiery furnace their response is, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 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.”
They don’t speak with unrealistic expectations or pompous pride. They don’t promise something on God’s behalf. Rather their response is one of realistic faith. They believe God can save them, that God is all-powerful. But these young men also understand we live on this sinful planet and Satan is at work. Many times we don’t get the exact answer we want when we pray to God. But that doesn’t mean we stop praying. That doesn’t mean that when faced with challenges we stop having faith in God.
Rather than falter in our faith, let us take the chance to forge a strong relationship of faith in God now. Then when challenges come, when we are facing flames and kings we will hold strong to God and His desire in our lives.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. If all we look at is the flames that we must endure, we quickly forget that there is One that walks in the flames with us. And even if the answer we receive isn’t what we want, God is still there. God is always there.
I pray our faith and hope will not be solely dependent on getting the answer we want but that our faith will be simply dependent on God, no matter what.
'Even If' by Mercy Me
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
 “Even If” by MercyMe.
 Dan. 3:16–18, ESV.
 Heb. 12:2, ESV.