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 … (Daniel 3:17-18).
Daniel’s companions teach us what faith means by their confidence in God’s ultimate rescue. These faithful men announced that God was able to deliver them from a pagan king’s fiery furnace, but they also confessed their allegiance if he did not.
Their famous “But if not” statement is their clear declaration that God is worthy of our worship and faith regardless of our circumstances. The young men knew that God had provided an eternal rescue that extended beyond this life – and beyond a fiery trial. Even if they could not predict his present actions, they had faith in the eternal security he provides.
Don’t let anyone convince you that trusting God means telling him what he must do. We must declare our trust in God by entrusting our lives and our eternities to him. We trust him to be good to us and through us. That may mean delivering us from an immediate trial or giving us the strength to bear it.
Early in ministry, I visited a widow to provide pastoral care. She did more for me. Through tears she said, “I prayed for God either to heal my husband, or to give me the strength to bear his loss.” Then, like a sunbeam after rain, a smile burst through her tears and she said, “And he did. God gave me the strength.”
Her trust strengthened and informed my own – and maybe yours, too. Trust the God of eternity for the grace you need today.
Father, I know that you always have the power to deliver me. Help me to trust you to provide what is best for my eternal care regardless of present outcomes.