“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
- Job 23:8-10
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
- Daniel 3:26-27
“God has said He will exalt you in due time, but remember, He is referring to His time and not yours!
“Some of you are actually in a fiery furnace right now. You are in a special kind of spiritual testing. The pastor may not know it and others may not know it, but you have been praying and asking the Lord: ‘Why don’t You get me out of this?’
“In God’s plan it is not yet ‘due time.’ When you have come through the ﬁre, God will get you out and there will not be any smell of smoke on your garment and you will not have been harmed.
“The only harm that can come will be from your insistence that God must get you out sooner than He plans.
“The Lord has promised to exalt you in due time and He has always kept His promises to His people.
“As children of God, we can always afford to wait. A saint of God does not have to be concerned about time when he is in the will of God.”
- A. W. Tozer, I Call It Heresy!
Note that Daniel’s three friends said that if it was God’s Will, they would not be harmed but regardless they would not bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. They had confidence in God, but they did not know that their reward would be a miracle or Heaven.
When we are speaking of “due time,” and death is an option in the available outcomes, that death gives us the greatest victory. We will have no more pain and suffering. With that in mind, we have Hope in God’s intervention for any worldly outcome.
My wife and I had COVID earlier in the summer. The 2022 version was nothing like the 2020 version, but then the 2020 version was nothing like the death sentence that the alarmists were predicting. Many died but not nearly at the rate predicted. Yet, the version that my wife and I had recently was not as bad as some of the cases of influenza that we have had in past years, but not better by much. The lingering cough is a profound nuisance.
But we often go to God in times of crisis: war, famine, illness, financial disaster. We wonder why God does not answer. A C. S. Lewis quote comes to mind…
“I call upon Him in prayer. Often He might reply — I think He does reply — ‘But you have been evading me for hours.’ “
- C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm
But then, there are those who are praying continuously and God seems to not answer. This is the case of Job above, but Job is telling his friends that he still trusts that God has his best interest at heart. Job will, in Job’s mind, come out shining like gold.
The old pulpit joke is the opposite end of that spectrum, in a way. A man’s house is in danger of being flooded and a man comes to the house in a high-profile all terrain vehicle to save him, but the man on the porch says that God will save him. As the waters rise, a motorboat comes by his porch, but the man awaits for God to save him. Finally, the man is sitting on his roof and a helicopter comes by and the man waves the helicopter on because God was going to save him. The man drowns and he asks God why he was not saved, and God said, “Well, I sent an all-terrain vehicle, a motorboat, and a helicopter…”
While we are awaiting God’s “due time,” we may have to take action ourselves. And we may need to be praying for discernment to see that help that comes from God may not come in a package that we were expecting.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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Thanks, and thanks for your vote earlier.
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