When God does not save the day

thedayDo you trust God even when he does not “save the day?” My favorite verse in the Bible is Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are about to be thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshiping a false idol. They tell the king, “we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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.”

I love this quote. These 3 young men trust God, whether he saves the day or not. Now, God, in this situation, does save the day and deliver them. However, these 3 men trusted God whatever happened. It is easy to say we trust God when he saves the day. But God does not always save the day. Ask the friends of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Ask the followers of John the Baptist.

Today I want you to consider two very different points of one story. It is the story of Jesus’ journey through Jerusalem during the week leading up to his death. On Sunday, he rides into town and the crowds worship him and cry, “Hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” On Friday, the crowds yell out “Crucify him, Crucify him!”

Jesus walked the Narrow Road before us. He travelled the road that is small before he invited us to follow him down it. He had to face the tough realities of life firs. We learn a great principle from Jesus in his handling of these issues. Keep Walking! On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus received what he deserved (when people praised him.) On the road to Calvary, Jesus received what we deserve (when people mocked t killed him).

God is at work in every situation. God is at work in the good, but God often does his greatest work in the bad. It is when we go through the days God does not save that he works mightily within our lives. God did not save the day for Jesus on Good Friday. Jesus was not spared the brutality and hatred. Jesus trusted the Father. He trusted him so much that the night before he prayed so hard he sweat blood and asked “If there be any other way, take this cup from me, but not my will your will be done.” He trusted God. Do not stop when it all seems right, because staying still will cause it to begin to go wrong. Do not stop when it all seems wrong, because you miss out what God will do next.

Jesus knew the truth of what he was doing. Jesus could save himself or us, but not both. The choice to die, to give up his life, was Jesus’ choice. It was a decision of love. God did not save that day because in it God redeemed all the days. Our road is much like Jesus’ in that we have to make a choice between our way and the Father’s will. We can serve Jesus or ourselves, but not both.

Who are you serving? Keep walking!

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