A few days ago, by phone, I made a long conversation with my mom. At the end of conversation, she suddenly asked me something, “How’s your faith today, my princess?” Then confidently I answered, “My faith is good. Very good, mom” However, I don’t know why after the conversation, I kept thinking about my answer of my mom’s question. Right now my personal life, Thank you to God, is in very good condition. I’m not currently facing major problems. There’s a question arises in my mind. What if I’m beset by hard problems and trials? Do I still could say my faith is in Good condition and didn’t waver at all? Do I still have big faith when I’m in the lowest point of life and do not go see any way out? Whether my faith remains well maintained when I had to wait for the God’s answer that not been come? Worse, in life and death situation, could I still uphold my faith and not sacrifice it just the safety of my own life?
My beloved readers, once again this’s about faith. I never bored talk about faith. Faith is a substantial thing in the Christian living. As written in Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I always remember when I was teen my mother said: “We must have a radical faith” Initially I was a bit shocked why she use “radical” to describe toughness of our faith. In my mind “radical” often used for things that has negative meaning and used to describe a dangerous movement of a group or organization. Actually, radical comes from Latin language “radix” which means “root” The real sense of radical is something that leads deep into, down to the roots, to the matters of principle, something very fundamental. So if we refer to the true definition, there’s no negative and dangerous meaning. If we associate with faith so it would mean that radical faith is faith that rooted to the deepest in our life, comes out from the inside and become a strong foundation in all aspects of our lives, a faith that isn’t easily shaken by any kind of threats. This evening I would like to take a bible story that (for me) could be as a great example of radical faith. Let’s take a look to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were bravely against king’s command.
The story begins when the king Nebuchadnezzar made sixty cubit height and six cubits width of an image of gold (Daniel 3:1) He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. (Daniel 3:2) Through the herald, Nebuchadnezzar commanded all nations and peoples of every language should fall down and worship the image of gold when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music. The consequence to those who not obey the command will be thrown into a blazing furnace. (Daniel 3: 4-6) This was a serious and terrible threat and punishment. I believe at the time nobody dared to defy the king’s command and didn’t want to die in vain in the furnace. But among the people, these three young men bravely fight against Nebuchadnezzar’s command. At the very moment, they were brought before the king and said to them, “… if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15)
What was their reaction of the king’s threat? They gave a radical reaction. They said:
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: 17-18)
My dear readers, my heart trembled when pondering the answer of these three men. This wasn’t a recklessly or carelessly answer. There’s something very powerful underlies their answers. There’s something very strong rooted in their heart and mind. I separate their response become two important things. First, they showed their unswerving conviction to God. They strongly believed that God will save them from the blazing furnace. They had very strong confidence in God who is who He says He is, and will do what He says. Their answer showed that their faith to God has been deeply rooted and too strong to be shaken even by life threats. They showed a faith that strongly depends on the extraordinary power to deliver them from the death.
The second, they remain hardened their hearts to disobey the king’s order even if God doesn’t deliver them and it means they will face the death in the blazing furnace. Once again, they marvelously showed that their root of faith was so strong embedded in their lives so that they were willing to dead as long as not worshiping the image of gold of the king. They didn’t want to sacrifice their conviction and faith solely for the sake of their safety instead they even are willing to sacrifice their own life. Actually, if they follow their lust of the flesh, they obey the king’s command to worship the image of gold then they ask forgiveness to God. What matters is they free from the horrible death. But they completely realize this wasn’t a matter of apologize and forgiveness. This was a matter of fundamental thing that cannot negotiable. This was about faith to God! Once they worship the image of gold it means they have been sacrificing their faith just for the sake of their own safety and there was a tendency they didn’t believe that God will save them from the death. Also because they realize that God loves them so much and they really love God so they still refused to abandon God to worship the king’s gods. This’s a perfect example of radical faith. A faith that deeply rooted and become a foundation, not only focused on the blessings and help of God alone.
After got the answer of these three young men, with furious, Nebuchadnezzar ordered to burn them with fire seventh time hotter than usual (Daniel 3:19) But what happened? Nebuchadnezzar was astonished that the fire didn’t consume these three men. He was even more amazed when he saw not three, but a fourth person with them: “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” (Daniel 3:25 NKJV)
I would ask all of us to ponder these things. If we have the same problem like these three brave men, what we will do? What about our faith? Could we have faith like them? Will we put our faith more than anything else in a precarious situation? Further, could we sacrifice and face the threat of death for the sake of our faith in Christ? It was true they were directly experienced God’s miracle. But once again please consider their radical response, that, even if God decides to not save them, their faith will not be sacrificed.
My beloved friends, in this wonderful Christmas season, please allow me to encourage all of us to make this Christmas as a momentum to renew our faith quality. Let’s make more effort to build radical faith in our lives. Ask to God to always increase our faith like the apostles said in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith” Let’s give a very serious attention to the growth of our faith that could totally believe without seeing our circumstances, also never loose of hope. We will never know what will be happen next year. We all know that life isn’t so easy. There’s time God allows trials and difficulties in our lives and God also doesn’t always guarantee that we’ll never suffer or experience death; we may not always understand the purpose of our trials. Let’s accept and live it as a maturing process of our faith. We also have to always remember if God had become the fourth man standing beside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; it means there’s a firm guarantees God also always standing beside us. Maybe this time we’re in very bad situation, maybe we’re in the lowest point of life; maybe this time we experienced suffering and “fiery persecution” and our faith being tested. Once again I encourage all of us to always remember that there are assurances from God:
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), He shall sustain us (Psalm 55:22), He will uphold, strengthen, and help us (Isaiah 41:10)
When God’s help hasn’t come to us, don’t be hasty to doubt God’s ability, much less doubt His existence. God has wonderful plan that give us peace, not evil, and give us future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and we have to remember that everything coming down from our Father is very good and perfect gifts. (James 1:17) If we haven’t got answers from God, don’t despair; still hold God’s promise with radical faith. Not matter there’s blessing, help, and miracle or not, our faith in God mustn’t waver at all. When we experiencing illness, persecution, oppression and all of that might require us to sacrifice our own lives, please always remember that, it’s not the end of our lives. There is life after death. God promises an eternal home to all those who love and obey Him. Jesus Said: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
Let’s celebrate this Christmas not only with party but also by reforming our faith quality so we would have a radical faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Have faith that remains rooted in God, have genuine faith that much more than precious gold (1Peter 1:7). Completely surrender to believe in God’s decision not because of what He can do but simply because we love Him wholeheartedly. Amen
My beloved readers, this post will be my last post this year. I will come back next year. I, my husband, and our little son Andrew say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to all of you. Hope and pray that all of you will experience wonderful and unforgettable holiday season this year. God bless you.
Karina – Living by faith
Image source: Google images