Last week I mentioned that I had picked out my 2016 verse. I’ve always kind of hated New Year Resolutions-I mean, why wait until January to start something you should have probably started months ago? And why pretend like you’re going to cut back on eating pizza when we know you’re not? Why act like you’re going to continue to go to the gym every day when we know you’re going to stop after a week? Okay, yes, I am talking about myself. If resolutions work for you, then by all means, do them! But for me they haven’t proven to be that effective. However, what has seemed awesome is choosing a ‘verse of the year’. Sometimes this might only be a ‘verse of part of the year’ because as we all know, different seasons of life come and go and sometimes we need different types of encouragement. For me, my current encouragement is this: And if not, He is still good.
This verse comes from the book of Daniel, which talks about, long story short, three men declaring that God will deliver them from death. I know this is slightly abridged (like, the most abridged version of Daniel ever) but forgive me. For the sake of time I want to focus on one tiny part in particular, verses 3:17-18: “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. And 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.” [Daniel 3:17-18].
Hole. Ly. Mole. Ly. Did you catch what they are saying? They have full confidence that God will deliver them from the fire, but even if He doesn’t, they are still fine with it. And even if He does not…we will still serve God and not anything or anyone else. And even if He does not…we will still believe God is good. And even if He does not…we will still follow His plan.
DANG! Y’all, I know this is just two sentences, but wow-I think that those 58 words speak volumes. So many of us, or at least I know that I find it easiest to worship when life is good. When we pray about something and God blesses us with exactly what we were hoping for it’s easy to proclaim His goodness. When life is going well and we feel God’s presence it’s easy to pray and worship and feel confident in our faith.
But what about the times when we don’t get what we want?
My faith is not contingent on what God can do for me. Following Him has brought me love, comfort, peace, joy, faith…and trials. I don’t think anyone will tell you that once you start to follow the Lord everything will always be good. We know that’s not the case. But that doesn’t mean it’s still not hard.
To be completely transparent with y’all, we’ve had some trials this past season of life. We love it here in NC-I am so happy we made the leap and came! I love our home, I love my school, I love my jobs. And yet, it’s tough. It’s hard when the opportunities that seem so perfect for us pass us by. It’s hard when the bills and out of state tuition come, and it’s tough to write out that rent check each month.
And yet, God is still good.
I’ve been trying to finish my prayers and thoughts that way and it’s been a great reminder and reality check when I start to get caught up in the details. Dear Lord, please bless us with that job. Dear Lord, please open a door. Dear Lord, please show us where you want our light to shine.
But if not…You are still good.
We’ve all heard that the Lord works in mysterious ways. A lot of the times life doesn’t go as we think it will or think it should, but in my experience most of those times it winds up even better. No matter what happens and no matter what prayers don’t get answered the way I might want them to, God is good.
“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”
[Garth Brooks, Unanswered Prayers]