But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV)
Can doubt and absolute faith in our Creator God coexist? Absolutely. Does our lack of faith always result in a lack of deliverance? Absolutely not. However many Christians, myself included, beat themselves up because of their lack of faith that through Him they can "do all things" (Phil 4:13). I'm in no way saying that we should stop striving to believe wholeheartedly that with God all things are possible or that God can indeed move our mountain, but I also think that we get defeated unnecessarily by connecting God's abilities with our faith or lack thereof.
In our Sunday sermon a couple of days ago I was reminded of the story of Daniel's friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and their punishment inside of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3. Because of their refusal to bow down and worship a golden image, King Nebuchadnezzar sentenced the three young men to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Let's look quickly at their response to Nebuchadnezzar upon hearing of their fate:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)
Do you see the doubt in S, M & A's mind as to whether or not God was going to deliver them? (v18) They knew that God could but they did not know if He would. How could they know if God would deliver them? I don't think that they could know without a shadow of a doubt. After all, God's thoughts are "higher" than ours. What makes perfect sense to our little planning minds, may not be the solution to our sovereign God. We have no way of knowing how our tiny worlds affect the bigger scheme of things. Shadrach, Meshach & Abed-Nego's story did have a happy ending for them. God did rescue them from the furnace without a burn mark on them, even though they explicitly stated their doubts.
What are you doubting today regarding God's provision in your life? Is it work related? family related? ministry related? God can work a miracle regardless of what we are thinking. If he doesn't, however, we must trust in God's goodness and sovereignty anyway, knowing that while He may not always deliver us from our furnace, He will always be with us in our furnace.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2-3a NKJV)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unwavering Word. Thank you that no matter what I'm feeling, I can trust that what you say is true and that you never change. Help me and others around me to believe that you will be with us to help us do all of the things that you have called us to do. Reveal to us clearly the plans you have for us and order our steps toward that plan. Help us to be faithful servants whom you can be proud of. Amen.