Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Even If He Doesn't

It’s been almost a year since I last posted. I have so much to say, and so much I can’t say. It’s a strange combination that makes blogging difficult.

Ministry—along with life in general—can break your heart. The soft-focus promos for small group curricula don’t typically emphasis this, but some of the people we try to love and lead will reject the gospel. I’ve always known this, but lately I’ve felt the weight of it.

I’ve grieved with parents of prodigals and friends who have had their dreams crushed. I’ve watched helplessly as people made choices that left a trail of devastation in their wake. I’ve seen people push away every offer of help and hope to continue on a needless path of self-destruction. He told us the road was narrow, but I wasn’t prepared for how heart wrenching it would be to watch people I love choose the wide path.

One of my favorite testimonies in the Bible is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When threatened with death in a fiery furnace for not bowing to an idol, they chose to stand firm:
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 or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3:17–18)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren't taking a stand because they were certain of a good outcome. In fact, they didn't know until after the furnace doors were opened how it was going to turn out.

Some translations render "but if not" as "but even if he doesn't." I seem to be in a season of "even if he doesn’t." I am not peering into the mouth of the fiery furnace, but I am begging God to do a bunch of things only he can do. These relationships might never be fixed. And even if they aren't, he is still good. Even as the voices asking, “Did God really say?” get louder, his Word is still true.

We can only plant and water, God makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:6–7). And this reminder of my human inadequacy actually gives me more hope.

Because the heartbreak is only half the story. I’ve also seen restoration where it seemed there was no hope at all. I’ve seen the person who once had no use for the gospel embrace the truth with passion. I’ve seen marriages restored and families reunited. I’ve been reminded again and again that God is often doing his biggest works when things look bleakest.

I know that God could fix these things in a heartbeat. The test comes when he tarries. He really does have the words of eternal life (John 6:68), but he must give us eyes to see. The waiting just reminds us who is responsible for the victories.


  1. There is a song out now, who's chorus is "but even if You don't, my hope is You alone". Praying for you during this time.

  2. This has been the hardest year of my life thus far. Your words hit home and encourage as well. I've been desperately clinging to what you declare- hope- a God of victory- a God who is truly there. Sending a prayer your way. Reminds me of the song"Even when it hurts" -Hillsong

  3. Feeling something of this pain in this season of life. One of our children is choosing 'the broad path', and my heart is breaking. Over the past six months, my sister and I have been nursing my mum, who was dying of cancer. She passed away 2 weeks ago, but I can honestly say that the pain of my daughter exceeds the pain of nursing Mum, of seeing her waste away, and finally of seeing her pass away (she was a believer, and so it's not like I was watching an unsaved person die. THAT would be a totally different story).
    But yes, only God .... And whatever He chooses, HE IS GOOD
    Anne x

  4. Ladies, I have been in your shoes. I just want to encourage you, God is faithful especially when we are not. I have (and still am) walked thru a lifelong struggle with depression and health issues, the death of my mother, straying children, grandchildren born into single parent homes and long lonely nights. (I could go on) There were times I tried to turn my back on God cause I just didn't want to go on. I couldn't understand how He would be glorified in these situations or get me thru them. Now as I look back, (with my hoary head) He is showing me that Jesus is more precious than all the dreams I had for my life and He is in control of the evil and sadness of their world. His glory is shown thru the fact that He has kept me. I sit here clothed and in my right mind! And I can write this to hopefully encourage you. I could never have done this alone and sadly I have seen many who have given in to the temptations and gone back to looking for satisfaction and ease from this present world. As Elisabeth Elliott said, "Just do the next thing." I have put one foot in front of the other as I have struggled daily with the brokenness and just plain evil of this world. And I wake up this morning and its been thirty something years. Ladies, the pain is real, its deep and it wounds. Jesus knows these sufferings personally. That is why heaven looks better every day. When the days come when you can’t do anything but cry and just want to give in, He is real, alive in heaven He is praying for you at His Fathers right hand. All you have to do is look and then "Do the next thing". May He who has ordained your pain and sadness in this broken world, strengthen your faith to see the depth of His love for you as you look at the suffering of your Savior on the cross, knowing He is no longer there or in the tomb, but waiting for you when your dying life here is over and your true living life begins with HIm. He is good and does good. Blessings.