Three of the Hardest Words to Say in the Christian Faith
As I write this, there are now 800,049 confirmed cases worldwide of those infected with COVID-19. 164,610 of them hail from the U.S. There are now 38,714 deaths worldwide, 10% of them from within our nation’s borders. By the time you read this, I’m sure the numbers are far worse.
Everyone in my small circle of influence is telling me similar things: (1) We’re tired. (2) We’re anxious. (3) We want life to return to normal. (4) We’re going stir crazy, and we still have a number of weeks, if not months, before we’ll get through the immediate crisis.
We’ve heard it said so many times that it sounds trite and tired, but it’s true nonetheless: “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.” Sometimes, though, the way God holds the future and the way we would are two different things.
I wonder if Daniel’s three friends ever thought that. Exiled from their homeland, forced into servitude to the king, subjected to an entire cultural re-education program, and mandated to worship a golden image of the king, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s world was turned completely upside down (Daniel 1-3).
When sentenced to death in a fiery furnace, they replied, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the 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 or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, ESV).
“But…if…not….” Three of the hardest words to say in the Christian faith. Do I believe God can deliver us from COVID-19? Yes. Do I believe what the enemy has meant for evil, God can use for good? Yes. Do I believe unprecedented times can bring unparalleled opportunities? Yes.
But…if…not, will I still serve Him, the One and only true God? I pray my answer, and yours, is “Yes,” a resounding, “Yes.” We believe that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
We believe that though we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, one day we will see everything with perfect clarity (1 Corinthians 13:12).
When the blind men came to Jesus to be healed, He asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” And they said, “Yes, Lord.” And He said, “According to your faith be it done to you” (Matthew 9:28-29).
So we pray, Give us faith that will bring healing to our nation and world, and in all of the unknowns, may millions turn to You who are known.
Nearly 600 years ago, Thomas à Kempis concluded his classic work, The Imitation of Christ, with this final sentence: “If God’s works were such that human reason could easily figure them out, they could not be said to be wonderful, nor would they be far too marvelous for words to express.”
O, Lord, give us a resolute faith like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to believe that one day You will reveal to us that which is far too marvelous for words to express. Grant us Your strength to endure, Your wisdom to understand, and Your peace to calm anxious thoughts. Thank You that Jesus invites all who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him that He might give them rest. May we embrace this truth in the name of Jesus. Amen.