now that i have your attention...
i always am saying that certain verses, chapters, books of the Bible are my MOSTEST FAVORITEST EVER. but i rarely say that i truly truly wish something wasn't in there (fear of lightning strikes et al.) but it is time to share with you all ( and by "all" i mean the 5 of you and i know my secret is safe because i can name all 5 of you and i know secrets about all of you too) that there are some things that i wish weren't in the Holy Bible...
like this line from a really GREAT flannelgraph worthy tale of three young men and a hot hot time they had together (sounds like the intro to a new mtv show)...
so in our tale the three faithful friends shadrach, meshach and abednego are about to be thrown into a blazing furnace because they won't worship the giant bunny statue that king nubby k. nezzer made for everyone to worship. hmmmm, i think i might have confused veggie tales with the Bible. again. but anyway you know the story. or can look it up yourself. the whole tale is PRETTY AWESOME STUFF but here is the part that i might want to strike out of the tale. the part where the three young men have a chatty chat with the king before they are thrown in...
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.
But even if he does not,
we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
"God is able"
"even if He does not".
them are some hard words.
i happen to like the God of exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine (ephesians 3:20) a lot more than this God who is perfectly able but may not. mostly because i can ask some crazy things. and i can imagine some pretty awesome scenarios. also because i don't like to be told "NO" even when it is for my own good.
i have to remember that He is the "God who is able" AND also the God of "even if He does not". He is able and everything He does is good. and i don't always know what "good" looks like in this present moment. or what "good" will look like in five minutes. but He does. He alone know what is good for now. and forevermore. something to do with existing outside of time. i don't really understand all of that. but i do know that He knows.
so... even if He doesn't not rescue me. even if He doesn't not remove the thorn. even if He does not do what i ask Him over and over and over to do. even if He does not give me what i think is my heart's greatest desire... if that ends up burning off in the fire of affliction. He is still Lord. He is still good. He is still my only Hope and Salvation. He is still loving me fully. even when it is hard. He is the only one with words of eternal life. He is the only true God... even when the answers are hard to understand. hard to accept. hard to see what is going on...
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
we weren't promised jetpacks. (that is one of millie's favorite bands "we were promised jetpacks". i like that name. i also want my promised jetpack.) as Christians we were promised a Savior. that is what we have been given. even if we get nothing else (and i do maintain that i have gotten a LOT of other things that i also didn't deserve. things way beyond my asking or imagining) Christ is enough.
Are You good only when I prosper?
And true only when I’m filled?
Are You King only when I’m carefree ?
And God only when I’m well?
You are good when I’m poor and needy.
You are true when I’m parched and dry.
You still reign in the deepest valley.
You’re still God in the darkest night.
So quiet my restless heart.
Quiet my restless heart.
Quiet my restless heart in You.
Oh let Your will be done in me.
In Your love I will abide.
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified...
and from a woman who understands more than i will understand about the God of "even if He doesn't" being the same God of "exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine", corrie ten boom...
Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.
"Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence.
She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.
It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.