I’ve heard it said that there’s no safer place for a Christian than in the center of God’s will. But God’s will does not always feel “safe.” His will doesn’t always look like we want it to. Christian and non-Christian alike face disease, disaster, suffering, and death. Being a Christian does not guarantee us a free pass on trials and tribulations. Actually the Christian life is usually a whole lot harder. In fact, Christians might be in the most unsafe situations but right smack dab in the very center of God’s will.
Jesus went to the cross and He was in the center of God’s will.
I struggle with God’s will. My will seems to constantly collide with His will. I find myself continually trying to manipulate God’s will into my will.
November 11 was when we first received the prayer request for baby Warren. This four month old little boy was napping at his daycare when he was found unresponsive. Doctors think he went several minutes without oxygen. Now, almost three weeks later, Warren has very little brain activity, His heart is beating and he is able to regulate his body temperature. But doctors fear the worst. They are giving this family almost no hope of survival.
Almost no hope.
It’s times like these where I wrestle with God’s will. I want so badly for Him to heal this precious child.
I know He can easily do it. He just has to say the word, wave His hand, or think the thought. But I can’t make Him. And that’s what’s so hard.
God made a promise to Abraham that he would have a son and become the father of many nations. But the years pass by, and Abraham and his wife Sarah watch their childbearing years come and go. Abraham was nearly a hundred years old and still didn’t have a son.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’” Romans 4:18-22
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope, believed…”
“he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead…”
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God…”
“being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised…”
We got a text from a friend to pray for Warren at 3:00 pm on November 13 because he was going in for an MRI.
Do you know what Warren’s parents asked that we pray for?
That the doctors would see the gospel in the results. They weren’t sure exactly what that would look like–maybe a cross–but whatever the results were, they wanted them to see Jesus in all this.
They wanted the doctors to see the gospel!
What a powerful prayer request!
Like Abraham, against all hope, this family, in hope, is choosing to believe God. They are facing the facts of what the doctors are saying about their son, yet they are not wavering through unbelief.
Their hope is not in a doctor’s report. Their hope is in their God.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and held a ceremony to dedicate it. Everyone who attended was ordered to bow down and worship the image.
But three men refused.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood their ground. Their allegiance was to God and God alone. So King Neb called them over and threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace if they didn’t bow down and worship the image.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Daniel 3:16-18
“But even if he does not…”
They refused to bow down, no matter the outcome, whether life or death.
So Neb got madder and the furnace got hotter–seven times hotter. He had the three men bound and thrown into the fiery furnace. But wait–this is where it gets good.
When King Neb peered into that furnace, he saw something astounding.
“He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’” Daniel 3:25
He saw not just three men, but four. He saw the Son of God.
He saw the gospel.
And did you catch that they were unbound and unharmed? In the midst of the fire, not in the absence of it, they had been set free.
I would have prayed that God deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego FROM the fiery furnace. That would have been my will. But God’s will was to deliver them THROUGH it.
“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 3:27
They were unbound, unharmed, unsinged, and unscorched. They didn’t even smell like fire.
Their faith was in something far greater than a measly statue an earthly king had set up. Their hope was in the one and only true God.
I don’t know how this is all going to turn out with baby Warren. I don’t know what God’s will is. I know what I want Him to do. I’m praying for complete and total healing. I’m praying for a miracle.
But I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, those doctors WILL see the gospel in the results of this situation. I know God will answer this prayer request. These are the types of prayers He loves to answer. Prayers that are saturated in faith, hope, and trust. Prayers where we let go of our own wills and firmly take hold of His instead.
Jesus prayed before he went to the cross, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
The results don’t always look like we so desperately want them to. But our hope cannot be in the facts that this broken world offers.
Our hope must be in Him.
Hope can take us through some of the hardest places and see us through to the other side, unsinged and unharmed.
And we won’t even smell like fire.
So reach out and take His hand. Hold onto Hope. Your grip might be weak and you might falter, but He won’t. The grip of Hope is strong, steady, and secure. He’s got you and He won’t ever let you go.
I think about all the people who have been affected by baby Warren’s story. As we peer into the fiery furnace of this trial, we are astounded. Because we see more than just baby Warren, his mom, and dad, we see Someone else there too.
We see the Son of God!
We see the gospel!
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” Psalm 130:5-7
*Please keep Warren and this precious family in your thoughts and prayers. I know they would greatly appreciate it.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20