A Faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Faith in a God who delivers and rescues is just pure wishful thinking.

It’s just an emotional crutch for those who need it.

Haven’t you heard or maybe even said something like that before? But stop for a moment and consider the notion. Isn’t it more likely that a supernatural Helper has visited us than the opposite?

I think the person who claims that there really is a God who hears and answers prayer, who can and does invade our world to help, heal, rescue, and save, is in the driver’s seat. For instance, it’s perfectly reasonable for believers to claim that there is a God because they have definitely experienced his help. They would have to know only that last Tuesday at 3:15 p.m., after a brief cry to God for help, some invisible, intelligent Helper came and rescued them in the most remarkable, impossible, and creative way. It fulfilled all the criteria in their mind for what would constitute a divine rescue and happened in such a manner that all the logical probabilities of doubt were removed.
Okay, the believers still might be mistaken in some way regarding their thinking about the rescue, but on the other hand they may really have experienced the presence of a caring, rescuing God. If these believers compare their deliverance with the accounts of thousands of others who have witnessed and experienced the same things, they come to the conclusion that it’s not just their imagination.
However, in the case of the skeptic, they cannot know for certain that there is no God—that there’s no Supreme Being to call out to for help. They can know only that they have no personal experience of this God. Else, they would have to know all that there is to know and to have been in every corner of the universe at every moment in history to say confidently that there is no God.
In other words, those who claim that some supernatural Being helped them out of their jam simply had to know less. Sometimes it takes very little knowledge or learning to know some of the most profoundly personal or deepest truths in life. The simple day-laborer could know more about God than the distinguished professor of theology or philosophy who lectures every afternoon at the university.

The plain, incontrovertible facts are these:

  • We have an enormous body of evidence testifying to the fact that God exists and is highly active in the lives of his creatures.
  • This evidence has existed for thousands of years, covering a great many cultures, languages, diverse geographical areas, backgrounds, and personality types.
  • It comes in the testimonies of people in the Bible, church history, hymnology, missionary history, and contemporary witnesses in the newspapers, in the evening news, and from our neighbors and friends.
  • The genuine church is a gathering of such people who unite to enjoy and celebrate this reality of an ever-present rescuing God.
  • These people include not only lifelong believers, but also previously hardened skeptics and professors of philosophy and psychology.

In unison they affirm that in every conceivable type of danger or distress, they cried out to God for relief and help was provided. It came tailor-made for their particular situation—an absolutely convincing proof of delivering power from God the Creator that increased their faith. It might have been a rescue and reversal, or his peace and comfort as he walked with them through their life storm. The evidence may be rejected or accepted, loved or hated, but it’s clearly there all the same.

So how can we be sure that God can help us? I suggest a few steps:

-Regular Scripture reading

-Regular prayer

-Regular worship

-Stay close to the people of God

Until we commit ourselves to these traditional Christian disciplines, we are likely not to experience much spiritual growth. Instead, we will find ourselves leaning more toward doubting the power and love of our gracious Father.
So let us prayer for a faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “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.”
John I. Snyder