Almost a year ago I sat down to write about Daniel 3:18. When I write, there are two different ways that I begin. First, there are moments when I am walking my dog Max and the Lord leads me to something. Second, there are moments when I am reading my Bible (many times during my lunch break), when He leads me to something and I will scrawl down some notes for later. Nonetheless, this week I was again reading Daniel 3:18 and was led to write about it. But it felt very familiar.
I considered that perhaps I had written about it before. After writing devotionals, other books, papers, sermons, lessons, etc., it was a possibility. I felt this overwhelming need to search, and then I found it, “But Even If.” Does someone need to hear it again? Yes, and God knew—it was me!
Life has been very difficult lately. Life in general is difficult, but lately I have been feeling exhausted. Not tired. Exhausted. Everything is a battle. I have followed the narrow path. But when we are on the journey God has placed before us, our expectations of the outcome might be very different from where God takes us. Hence the exhaustion. For some of us it’s frustration or even worse. But God reminds each of us that He is with us and He has a great plan for our lives. No matter where we are at on the journey, no matter what our expectations for a situation, our lips should say, “But even if he doesn’t” we will still press forward and live each day firmly rooted in Him. I’m pressing forward. He is my hope and my confidence.
“But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” – Daniel 3:18 [NLT]
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” – Psalm 25:5 [NIV]
Like everyone, Peter made a heap of mistakes while following Christ. The denial of Christ was something he refused to accept would happen; however, he was left weeping afterward, knowing the depth of his failure. Even so, Peter did not sink down and allow this failure to stop him from pressing forward with the Great Commission Jesus left with the disciples. In the first chapter of Acts we are able to see that Peter got right back up on the horse and began to lead as was his purpose.
In Acts 1:15-26, Peter stood before the remaining Twelve and proposed the need to fill the position of Judas. This concept was not something he devised from his own thinking, but rather, he knew that the vacant spot must be replaced for the Scripture to be fulfilled. He didn’t allow his failures from the past to stand in the way from the plan God had for his life.
I believe that this example of Peter and his willingness to answer the call is something that we should all model in life. Like Peter, we all will make mistakes and be undeserving of the grace we receive from God. Nonetheless, we cannot allow our imperfections to thwart the plan that God has for our lives. By His grace and mercy we are able to stand no longer condemned. Peter constantly reminds me of the need to press forward and not allow anything, including our shortcomings, get in the way of God’s plan.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 3:12-14 [NIV]