But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:18
Children teach us so much about ourselves. Regardless of their age, children have a sense — or maybe a trying spirit — that tests their boundaries and their place in the order of things. I’m reminded of this often through the lives of my children, nephews and niece — nine total! It’s always interesting to me when a request from a parent (usually made to get action) is made to one of them and the response is nothing like what was requested. It’s because, deep within them, they have a better idea! So they think! They have crafted, through their better understanding of their own state-of-affairs that what was being requested was somehow optional to the growing interest of whatever they are actively participating. It forces the question, “Who’s the boss here?”
I find, in my own life, that I often act the same way towards God when He is trying to lead me down paths I’m not so comfortable walking. I always seem to have a “better” plan, a “smarter” idea and a more “reasonable” response. I forget that the outcome of His leading is nothing but good! And so I ensue.
The confidence I have in knowing that “all things will work together for His good,” as He says in Romans, will become just that — good. I place my faith, hope and trust in those words that it will be good and press on, as did Paul, toward that end. But, I’m learning that the measurement of good differs. What is good? What is His good? What is my good? Good is suddenly looking a little less good and more not so good — not to be confused with bad.
And so enters, without question, the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego along with Daniel. The good in these real stories is but one thing — serving and worshiping the one true God! It was not a popular choice and to everyone other than them it appeared to be a bad choice. But doing what is right, serving the One who lives within me — Christ in me — while it doesn’t appear to be the most popular or notable thing to do IS THE measure of good. It, beyond all things, is of greater importance and value.
This is why when the heat was turned up, the fire of life burned fiercely before their eyes and Daniel could smell the foul breath of the jaws of imminent death they were all at peace. With confidence that God would deliver them from fire and lions, they stated ever so clearly, “But if he does not.”
All things do work together for good — but is my measurement of good on a scale I understand or on a scale measured only by my God?
My Father, let this sink in to the depths of my being. Show me, teach me, stir in me the goodness you measure so that when things do not look so good on the path ahead by what my eyes see that I would know to look more deeply with the eyes of your Spirit within me. May my faith in you become so strong that I say too, “But if He does not . . .” and be at peace.
. . . for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 1:30