We do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. —Daniel 3:18
Through the centuries, some of God’s servants have faced the possibility of an agonizing death unless they renounced their faith. They knew that God could deliver them, but they also knew that in keeping with His own purposes He might not answer their pleas for supernatural help.
In the book of Daniel, three young Hebrew captives faced a life-and-death choice: Worship the king’s gold image or be thrown into the fiery furnace. Their response was unhesitating: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.” They added, “But if not, . . . we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
But if not! Those words challenge our allegiance. Suppose we face crippling disease. Suppose we are facing shameful disgrace. Suppose we are facing painful loss. We plead for God’s intervention, yet in every threatening circumstance our plea should carry the proviso, “But if not!”
Is our attitude that of Jesus in Gethsemane? “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
Are we willing to endure whatever will glorify God and work out His holy purposes?
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain:
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train. —Heber
When conviction runs deep, courage rises to sustain it.
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC