So, a few hours ago I posted a semi-sad post after hearing that 1-17 had four more casualties-but then I heard a little more news, and all of a sudden the abstract sadness of lives lost had faces.
The faces of fathers and husbands. Men that I actually knew and that was when the real reality kicked in. I know, its horrible that I cannot seem to muster up this kind of empathy when it comes to people I do not know-but such is the way of my mind. But, when we do know the persons impacted. Wow. Grief.
Its so incredibly awful....
Of course, it doesn't stay focused on others long, soon your sympathy gets mixed in with your own worst fears and you start thinking about other soldiers-your best friends husbands, men who are your close friends....your own husband. Its around then that I start to curse my fully developed imagination because its just too awful to even begin to comprehend.
And so I have another go at a blog post.
Before all these news started hitting I had a quiet time. And in that quiet time I was reading in Daniel. The well known story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace. ( If you need some refreshing you can read the account here). Anyway, this time through I was struck by three little words, "But if not..."
These men had just made a huge proclamation to this heathen king saying that they served a God who could deliver them from any kind of punishment he might come up with-even throwing them in a furnace-and that they would honor God and not Man ( aka. the king) and would not be bowing down to his idol...and then these three little words..."But if not..."
You see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not live under any allusions that they were guaranteed saving just because they were being faithful to God-but with those three words they made it clear that it did not matter.
Their faith was not conditional. Who God was and the honor that He deserved from them was not based upon His actions towards them. God does not change, and their faith was not going to change either.
It gives me great comfort now, and even more after the events of the day. To think of how I serve a God who does not change according to whim. Whether i have a good day or a bad day. Whether horrible things happen to me or whether I am spared. Whether those that I love and care for, face difficulties or whether they are greatly blessed...
He is the same. The same majestic and wonderful God who is worthy to be praise, honored and adored no matter what.
And to be honest, I tremble a little bit at that truth....for the realities of what I just said are this....that even if something unimaginable where to happen in my own life, even if our own version of "But if not" were to happen, Christ would still be the same. He would still be glorious.
Tonight I cry for the realities of this World, and my heart desires ever more a Kingdom where...."He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Amen to that....and until that day....I pray for strength to face the furnace and comfort for those who already have.