Sunday, 30 September 2012

But If Not

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18) 
Said Jim Elliot, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose".  Sometimes we have no promise from God except Himself. He will not be pinned down. He is Good, and what he does is Good. That is all. We would hold on, but we can't. We would run, but we can't. He corners us, and there is no escape, no figuring things out, no managing our expectations. He sees things too differently from the way we see them. We must simply accept Him, no matter what he gives.

He may break our hearts. He may lead us through the valley of the shadow of death. He may let us fall. He may let us despair.

But he will withhold no good thing. He gave his own Son for us. He will do right. He will give Good. What that good looks like, we don't know. With Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we have to say that he is able to rescue us, but then we must make our choice, even if he does not...!

Father, I unclench my fists. Give me what you will, even if it means no grapes on the vines, no cattle in the stalls; even if it means the furnace, I will have You and the Good that you give. Only you can make me desire Jesus above all, but I can will - even against this clamour within that seeks self. I choose Jesus. Still this complaint in me the way you stilled the wind and the sea, and make my heart's desire match that will. But if not...!

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

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