Sweat and tears fell from His face as He prayed, alone, in the garden. He knew that the moment for which He had been sent to earth had arrived. He prayed that His Father would remove this cup of anguish from Him. He didn’t want to endure this. But He didn’t end His prayer there. His powerful and meaningful words were, “Yet not what I will, but what You will. Not as I will, but as You will. Your will be done.”
They felt the intensity of the heat rising from the furnace, and the three young men knew it had been lit for them. They refused to abandon their God and bow down to human flesh that had done nothing to deserve their worship. King Nebuchadnezzar was infuriated at their lack of respect for him, and ordered that they be cast into the fiery furnace. Instead of putting up a fight, the three men made a statement of faith that gives me chills every time I read it: “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.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
If not. If God chooses not to deliver us, even so, it is well.
Life is full disappointment, heartbreak, pain, and suffering. You don’t need me to tell you that, because we see it daily. Some of us live it. We don’t have to have our eyes opened to suffering because this is an evil world full of people that choose to follow the Evil One.
But it’s what we do about this pain that matters. It’s how we handle our disappointments and heartbreak and suffering that reveal our character and devotion.
Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross. He didn’t want to endure the excruciating pain and ridicule that came with being an accused criminal. But He did. Because it was God’s will for Him to die, so that you and I could be ransomed and saved from our sins and spend eternity with our Father. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t want to step into that blazing furnace. They didn’t know if they’d come out of it alive. But they did step into that furnace. Because they knew that God wanted them to serve Him endlessly, even if it meant physical death.
Even if we have pain and tribulation on this earth, even if things don’t turn out the way we think it should, it must be well with our souls. This means that we are accepting it because God is in control. This means being submissive to His plans because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
This means trusting, completely and without a doubt, that God is bigger.