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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Anne

And If Not

Updated: Jan 6


Four men walking in a fire.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are one of the most famous trios from the Bible. After all, not everyone can say they were thrown into a fire burning so hotly it killed those who did the throwing . . . and walked away without even smelling like smoke. But before they knew they would survive, they had to make a choice. A choice to trust God, to stand for what is right, with the threat of a horrible death hanging over them.

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is found in the Old Testament book of Daniel, in Chapter 3. The three young men were Jews who had been taken from their homeland and brought to Babylon, where they lived in captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar did everything he could to change them into who he wanted them to be. Indeed, the names they are known by are not their real names—nothing was sacred to King Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of Daniel Chapter 2, the trio is appointed, by Daniel’s request, “over the affairs of the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 2:49, ESV) Their position put them under public scrutiny, and when King Nebuchadnezzar built a golden image and demanded all people bow down and worship it at a certain signal, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to do so and were reported to the King.

King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with them, but decided to give them a second chance—reminding them once again an excruciating end in a fiery furnace awaited those who defied his decree. The trio, respectfully, declined. They told King Nebuchadnezzar, in answer to his question of what god was capable of delivering them from his plan, the God of Israel was capable to deliver them, and they were confident they would be delivered from the King’s plans. However, they also acknowledged deliverance might not be God’s plan . . . but the possibility did not change their minds.

God did rescue them, and also sent someone to walk through the fire with them. In life, we have moments like this. Some are “big”, like Christians who are told to renounce their faith or die, and some are “small”, like losing a friend because you’ve recently accepted Christ as your savior. Regardless of how life-altering the decision is, we each must make a decision on whether we are willing to endure the consequences of choosing Jesus.

But making a decision to choose Jesus isn’t the only the time we’re faced with an “and if not” choice. There are also times when circumstances out of our control place us in the middle of a fiery furnace, and we have to choose whether we will still worship God.

Fiery furnaces take many different shapes in our lives. A loved one with cancer, the loss of a job, a tragedy that could have—or should have—been prevented. Each time we encounter one of these things, we are faced with the knowledge that our all-powerful God could have prevented them . . . but He didn’t. And each time we have to make the choice to either continue to follow and worship God or turn away from Him.

In my life, I have been blessed to not face any of the raging infernos I mentioned above, but I have had my own fires to walk through—somewhat literally. In a period of nine years, my family experienced three major fires. The first was when our milking parlor burned down, the second when our equipment shed burned down, and the third was when our house burned down.

The first and second fires impacted my family’s jobs and income. If you don’t have a place to milk the cows, or a way to plant and harvest the crops, how will you continue on as a dairy farm? The last one, aside from leaving us homeless, also struck at the heart of where my security was. But in each disaster, God was faithful.

A neighbor had the facilities and space for us to move our herd to their farm, and so we were able to continue milking while we rebuilt our parlor. After the second one, we were able to work out a deal to have another neighbor do the planting and harvesting for us. And with our house fire, God had already placed us in a community where we were immediately helped by neighbors, friends, and family. In each situation, God provided.

And in each situation, God taught me something new. When the parlor fire happened in 2007, I wasn’t a Christian. I’d been attending church with my family, knew the right answers, and could quote many different Bible verses. But I didn’t see a need for God. My dad’s response to the fire, a willingness to quit the job he loved and move to something else if that’s what God was telling him, woke me up and made me start searching for what I’d missed.

After the second fire, I started diving a little deeper in my walk with God. I wanted to know if it was true that God worked all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). My searching then prepared me for listening for and obeying God three years later when He sent me to Indonesia, which was where He began calling me to become an author.

And in the last fire, He taught me that I’m not walking with Him alone, but have a family of believers who are journeying with me, and that my security is not found in anything on earth, but in Him alone. If I had not gone through these fiery furnaces, I would not be who I am today.

In each situation, I had the opportunity to turn away. By God’s mercy, He turned me to Himself. I still ask why, still grieve what was lost, and face the temptation to use anger to mask the pain of the losses. But in the end, the answer to “and if not” is always that God is good. He is trustworthy and faithful. And we can walk in the fire, knowing He is walking with us.


How about you? Do you have an “and if not” moment? Are you facing one today? Comment below with your stories, or email me at suzanne@suzannemckaig.com to share your prayer requests.


God Bless and Keep magic in the mundane,

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