Finding Courage and Resolve When a Line In the Sand Demands It

If Humpty Dumpty and I sat down for a heart to heart, I think we’d find we have a lot in common. The first and most obvious is the state of our brokenness. The thing about the king’s horses and men unable to put us together again… yup. But I’m not so sure how Old Humpty’s issues ended. Maybe he erroneously figured he was worthless as a badly broken egg, or maybe he learned in pain and brokenness reside glorious blessings. 

Exiled and immersed in a godless culture, in the service of a pagan king, three young men defied the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. Their response to a law which imposed worship of a golden image drew a line between a man and their Highest authority. 

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, 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 3:16-18 ESV

Sometimes lines happen between good and evil, right and wrong. Oftentimes those lines in the sand reveal who or what we worship. Always they bring opportunity to grow our faith. 

How do we find similar courage and resolve like that of Daniel’s three friends? Isn’t this the kind of steadfast faith we wish to have and want for our children and grandchildren? How can we pass down unwavering faith in God especially when we are surrounded by unbelief?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before a furious, narcissistic and neurotic king. He gave them two options; bow to an idol or die. 

They saw two possibilities; God would rescue them or not. And whatever God chose, they believed God would never forsake them. Neither in death or life. 

O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 

  • He is able. 
  • Deliverance will come.
  • But if not, we will worship God alone.  

What would I do? What would you do? 

  • I love the miraculous way those boys in the Bible walked through the flames with another Presence. I am awed at their unscathed bodies, clothes and the absence of even the smell of smoke on them. Yet, I know deliverance sometimes comes packaged in ways only God designs and understands. I may not always see its completion, still I must acknowledge Sovereignty throughout each, “But if not.”

How could they stand before the King so undaunted by their fate?

  1. Because bowing to an idol wasn’t even an option. 
  2. Because worship belongs to One King alone.  
  • Such great lessons remain for us through these young men. Regardless of going against the flow, they stood strong. And I wonder, am I setting the bar high enough for myself and for those who come after me? Do golden images capture my affections and then compromise another’s? Do I toy with options when obedience to God is on the line?  And do I possess the discernment to know the difference? 
  • Remarkable faith in action is admirable and encouraging. Yet, those actions are only the fruit of something much greater. It is about relationship with the God they served. These three young men knew beyond doubt God reigned as Sovereign King above every other. He held them in His hands with limitless power. They would obey, and He would act righteously. 
  • He holds us in His hands too. His powers are still without limit. He does what is right. 
  • Steadfast faith, like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego starts with relationship. Our God is the same God of Noah, Moses, and David. His hand moved in the lives of Mary, John, and Paul. He surrounded three young exiles on their own in a society bent on indoctrinating them to worship a different god. Unchangeable, vast, and flawlessly good, He is worthy of our unfettered devotion even in the “But if not’s” He allows.

“I am so broken,” I said to my husband when the fog of our daughter’s health crisis marked months on the calendar and pieces of my heart felt like shattered egg shells. “I don’t think I will ever heal.”

The God of miracles and of “But if’s,” is worthy of worship.

Shattered and broken is a good place for us. It is there the King of Kings touches exiled hearts. In our powerless Humpty Dumpty state, He is able to stitch together the scars so His light shines through. 

 Whatever you may be going through, He is able. 

12 Replies

  1. Kevin Munderloh Reply

    I am in the furnace it seems a lot. I have to trust that God will be there for me in the fire. Thanks for this.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I’m sorry you are in the furnace, but trusting with you in a faithful God. He is. I hope you find encouragement from the story in Daniel!

  2. Bill B Reply

    Well said. Well lived.

  3. Rebecca Powell Reply

    I love the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego story, and I desire to stand firm during those difficult “but if” times. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      I’ve been reading through Daniel, and really loving these stories all over again. I too want to stand strong, and found the account so encouraging. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Barbara Latta Reply

    These young men are icons of faith we can all learn from today. They lived in a heathen culture yet retained their faith in God . We have no excuse in our culture for not doing the same. Thanks, Sylvia!

  5. sylvia schroeder Reply

    Their testimony is encouraging in the world we live in to day. Thanks Barbara!

  6. Sharon Reply

    Thank you Sylvia.

  7. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Such a beautiful message of faith, Sylvia. How we act in times of acute duress and tragedy reveals the strength of our faith. I know that sometimes I don’t measure up. But Daniel and these young men remind us of the most important thing–God is always with us. He is faithful even as we struggle with our own faith. Thank you for this message of hope.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Katherine, I certainly don’t measure up either far too often! I’ve been so encouraged in the book of Daniel recently. It is a wonderful tribute to these young men, but even more a testimony of their God and His faithfulness. He is always with us. Thanks again for reading and I always love hearing from you!

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