What came to mind when you read the title of this post . . . Three Powerful Words?
I am sorry?
I love you?
Please forgive me?
Each of these does pack a powerful message, and each is important, but none of them is the topic of this post. In fact, if I asked you to list all of the possibilities you could think of for three powerful words, the phrase I have in mind may not even make it onto your list.
But if not . . .
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced the king, who gave them one more opportunity to escape the fiery furnace by agreeing to bow down to the image he had set up, this was their reply (emphasis mine):
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 New King James version)
They believed that God could—and would—deliver them. But they determined to serve and obey him even if He did not.
I doubt any of us will ever face a literal fiery furnace. But we are each confronted with obstacles and trials which we can face with the same determination to serve and obey, no matter what.
Lord, I ask to be healed . . . but if not, I’ll serve you within my limitations.
Lord, I’d love to be able to change jobs . . . but if not, I’ll be your witness right where I am.
Lord, I seek a better relationship with my spouse (boss, mother, friend) . . . but if not, I’ll do my part to forgive and obey.
Lord, I long to be published . . . but if not, I’ll still write for you.
As I look back on my outlook and attitudes through the years, I can see progress toward that kind of faith. But I have so much farther to go.
I pray that one day—like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—I’ll maintain unwavering belief that my God can deliver me, but if not I’ll worship and serve Him anyway.
No matter what the consequences.