but even if not

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if He does not..."

I have always liked the story of the three fellows and the fiery furnace. Perhaps it is because of watching VeggieTales' Rack, Shack, and Benny oh so many times [the Bunny Song is powerfully catchy, you know]. Or maybe it is the natural appeal of Men Thrown in Fire and Survive Without a Single Burn [you just cannot top that epic-ness (though I suppose "Eaten and Subsequently Spit Up by Huge Fish" or "Spend a Night in Lion's Den with Undomesticated Feline" or "Dead for Three Days and Live Again" are pretty ridiculous feats as well)].

But I think what makes Daniel 3 really stick with me is the response given to the king when he gives them the ultimatum of bowing down to him or being thrown to a fiery death. They confidently acknowledge the power and unquestionable ability of the God they serve to deliver them from their current situation [despite the king's insistence otherwise]. They seem to have not a doubt in their minds that their God can deliver them. And that in itself is a good reminder to take away from this story. No matter the circumstances or overwhelming odds or seemingly inevitable bad ending, God is able to deliver us from it. Period. To believe otherwise is to completely disregard a huge part of His character, a huge part of who He is in our lives. He is our Deliverer [read a few psalms if you want a refresher].

But even that aside, what sticks out to me personally is what they continue on to say. "But even if He does not..." But even if He does not. Even if He does not keep the bad from happening, prevent the sickness from killing, deliver me from my enemies... Even if He does not, it doesn't make Him any less God. It doesn't make Him any less good. It doesn't make Him any less present. Those men, no doubt, were hoping God would deliver them from being thrown into the fire. They knew He was able to do so. But at the same time, they knew it did not really matter. If He did not deliver them, they were not going to change their beliefs or actions. Their trust and faith would not be shaken. Even if God did not deliver them, they knew He would still be with them. Even to death.

I like this. It's a good reminder. Even if the bad happens, even if pain comes, even if death is imminent, my God is the all-powerful Deliverer. He is able to deliver me no matter how gloomy the outlook. But even if He does not... I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will stand with me through it all. And really, that's all I really need.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

On an entirely different note, last night was the first night in well over a week that I was able to sleep through the night. Not once did I wake up. I didn't have to miserably sit in the dark trying to stop coughing long enough to fall back asleep. No feelings of someone punching me in the stomach every time I coughed. It was lovely. 

I don't think I've been this sick in a long, long time. I really can't even remember the last time I felt so awful. The days of fever and aches were absolutely miserable. I have never had aches so bad that it actually hurt to have someone touch me. It was so weird. Generally, my coughing phase is always the worst and longest part of my being sick. I think it's always been that way. But this time, I actually coughed so hard and so often that my sternum actually felt bruised and was super painful every time I coughed. Unpleasant. 

Ah, health. Thank you, God. Taking a breath never felt so good.

Slightly related note:  I must cut my hair. It is entirely too long and annoyed me to pieces while I was sick. I think another self-hacking is in order. Oh the excitement! Snip snip snippety snip! Now where can one find a whetstone...

This is what I feel like.

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