Have you heard of Daniel in the Bible? There is an entire book about him.
He was a young Jewish man held captive in Babylon with three of his friends by Nebuchadnezer, the King of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezer (referred from now on as Nebbie) wanted the best and the brightest of the Jewish guys. So he had his aides select from then. They were to be smart and quick thinking. They were to be instructed in the ways and culture of Babylon and given the best to eat. This was going to be a three year indoctrination and qualifying time.
Daniel was not happy with all the food. It was probably the richest, best food and drink around. I know, I wonder too what he was thinking. So instead of eating the delicacies and drinking the best wine, he asked the man in charge if he and his friends could eat only vegetables and drink water to see if they could maintain their health with this. The kings man was obviously hesitant, so Daniel suggested a ten day trial. He then agreed to that.
After the ten days, Daniel and his buddies were found to be in better shape than all the others who had consumed the finest foods. So from that time on, they were allowed to eat just the veggies and drink water. (side note: this is probably a very good way to lose weight).
As time went on, Daniel continued in his training regimen.
Nebbie meanwhile had a dream that really disturbed him. He called for all the astrologers and magicians to come and interpret the dream, but none of them could. Someone suggested Daniel who came and then proceeded to tell Nebbie that only God could interpret this dream. God gave Daniel the answers to the questions of the kings dream and interpreted what was to happen.
The King then believed Daniel was the smartest man in his kingdom, and Nebbie bestowed on him extremely high honors.
After awhile, the king had commissioned his servants to make a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. Nebbie then issued a decree that everyone should bow down and worship the statue when they heard the music sound, calling them to worship.
Ah, but in every great story, there is always an antoagonist and protagonist. There were some officials of the king who informed him that there were three guys who wouldn't bow down to the statue. These three men were Daniel's best friends; renamed in Babylon: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.
Nebbie was furious at these guys. He questioned them about why they wouldn't bow down and gave them another opportunity to bow down to the statue. These faithful servants of the true God refused and said they would never bow down to anyone but him. This made the king even more mad,and he ordered them thrown into a extremely hot furnace heated seven times higher than normal.
The men who brought the three amigos to the furnace were burned to death but Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were in the furnace walking around with another figure, who turned out to be an angel, sent from God to protect them.
What is truly amazing about these three guys, that prior to be thrown into the furnace, they told the king, that no matter what they would trust their God. They would trust Him even if He did not deliver them from the blazing furnace. That to me is the kind of faith and trust in God that I would hope to have.
Two very tiny words with incredible punch.
EVEN IF: I prayed and prayed for a friend or loved one to be cured of cancer, and they lose their battle.
EVEN IF: my spouse had an affair and leaves me for the other person.
EVEN IF: my lifelong desire for being a mom or dad is crushed due to infertility.
EVEN IF: I have been abused or raped and am afraid to begin a relationship.
EVEN IF: I have struggled and struggled with a mental illness and prayed and prayed for relief that never comes.
EVEN IF: I desperately wanted a certain job and didn't get it.
EVEN IF: I have lost my spouse or my child and am struggling like crazy to understand why I will spend the rest of my life on earth without them.
EVEN IF: I have lost my home, my income due to circumstances beyond my control and have to begin again all over.
EVEN IF: I care deeply about those suffering in poverty, slavery and disease in the rest of the world, and feel helpless to do anything to help.
EVEN IF: My desire to be married and share my life with someone, never happens.
EVEN IF: The reconciliation I so desire with a friend or family member has not happened yet.
EVEN IF: The friend or family member I have prayed fervently for to come to know Jesus, has no interest whatsoever in God.
EVEN IF: I have the diagnosis of cancer and am scared of the outcome, and am left to wonder.
There are so many EVEN IF's that we will face and experience in life.
I so desire to be a person who can say with these three young men, EVEN IF God doesn't come through the way I would hope, I will trust God no matter what.
That's a huge statement to aspire for.
But it is my hope that I will always do.
What about you?
Will you trust God NO MATTER WHAT?