Turning Your What If to Even If

If you are familiar with the story of the fiery furnace in the third chapter of Daniel, you will recall the speech that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego made to the king. When asked what god was able to deliver them, they said, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

In times of uncertainty, we can often go down a dangerous path of “what if?” We can look at our circumstances and begin to wonder what if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if someone I love dies? What if…

Usually the “what ifs” in life begin as fear. That little unsettling suggestion that things may not be going in the direction we want. Then the fear grows and we wonder what will happen if things go from bad to worse.

The men in the story in Daniel were facing certain death unless God did something miraculous and QUICK. But they didn’t focus on the problem, they voiced their unwavering faith in the God who was able. BUT they also understood that God might choose to allow them to die. Either way, they were not moving from their position of faith.

My husband and I have had several conversations about how these verses apply to our lives. And not just recently. Yes, this pandemic has brought this up again, but we have faced this moment many times during our four decades together. The most recent was 3 years ago when Randy was diagnosed with cirrhosis.

For nearly 2 weeks I spent the days with him in the hospital, getting more bad news with each day. It wasn’t just the failing liver, it was a steady stream of additional complications. One day it was learning that he also has a clotting disorder. Then it was learning that as a diabetic, he would now become insulin dependent because his liver could no longer process the oral meds that had been working. Then he developed vertigo and couldn’t get out of bed. Each evening I would leave the hospital and drive through the dark streets alone. I would cry out to God to do a miracle but each time I arrived home, I would conclude my desperate prayers with the same conviction those men feeling the heat of that furnace had.

My prayer would end with “even if… ” I would surrender what I could not control to my God who I knew was much wiser than I will ever be. I had learned over decades of walking with the Lord that He is always with me no matter what my circumstances.

And now, 3 years from those challenging days, we are facing a new challenge because Randy is at very high risk from COVID-19. We have had those conversations again about “what if?” And we have come to the same conclusion.

Even if one or both of us contracts this virus, our trust in our God remains the same. We will be made well through whatever means God chooses. Perhaps a miracle, perhaps a long difficult recovery, or perhaps an invitation to see Jesus face to face.

If you are feeling fearful and asking too many “what if” questions, take your fears to God. He is the answer to all your questions. He knows His plan for you and He has never been distracted. Put your trust in His perfect ability to take care of you and your loved ones.

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:3-4 (NASB)