The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has always resonated with me. These 3 men were required by King Nebuchadnezzar to bow down to an image of gold instead of their God Most High. Because they refused to do so, the king subjected them to a fiery furnace. I admire their undying devotion to their God, even in the face of death.
"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.'"
And they came out of the fire unscathed.
It was about 12 hours from the time I knew Tony was missing until I was told that he had fallen. Those hours seemed like the passing of days at the time...now they seem like fleeting moments.
My life changed forever during those 12 hours. Forever.
I don't recall all the details, and that is okay with me. I remember faces of friends who showed up in the wee hours of the morning. I can faintly picture those bright camera lights while standing in front of every news station in Atlanta, but I could not tell you what I said. I do remember thinking I was in a bad dream - surely I was not the latest tragedy to hit the morning news. Yes, a very bad, dark dream. My own fiery furnace.
Still, God was with me. No, I did not spend those 12 hours on my knees in prayer, but I recall being in a constant state of dialog with my Protector, my Comfortor, my God. I begged Him to bring Tony back to me. Begged Him.
But I did not bargain. I did not attempt to strike up a deal that if God brought Tony back, I'd follow Him more closely. Or that I'd tell everyone in my circle of influence about Him. Or that I'd be more generous, more patient, more loving, if only He would bring my husband back safely.
My God is not a vending machine. He is not a savy businessman looking for next best scheme to win my heart, to win my obedience.
He is God. God, period.
So I was left facing my furnace like those 3 men, facing my "Even if He does not" moment.
And I made the choice that though my circumstances did not turn out as I had so desperately hoped, I will not turn away from my God.
And I will not curse God for my tragedy. I will not blame God for my tragedy. I will not.
I will not.