He is able...

I love Vacation Bible School.  I loved it as a kid when we knew our snack each day would be the vanilla cookies with the frosting in the middle and a small dixie cup of kool-aid, usually red.  I remember we met outside the Sanctuary for lining up.  We would process in a line right behind the chosen 6th grade students - one carrying the American flag, one carrying the Christian flag, and one carrying the Bible.  Once we filed into our designated pew, we began with the recitation of each pledge, then continued with songs and an introduction to the day's story and activities.

Honestly, the basics are still the same.  The themes of VBS are now larger than life.... the decorations are more intentional and elaborate, the snacks are scrumptious, the songs offer catchier tunes with great motions to follow, but the bottom line is still the bottom line!  The week's decorations, themes and songs are built around the Bible story.

This past week, teaching the Wednesday Bible story to all classes was my privilege.  The story was familiar - straight from Daniel chapter 3.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were rightly charged with breaking the law that King Nebuchadnezzar had enacted - they had refused to bow down and worship the gold statue the King had built.  Punishment for the refusal to bow had already been decreed - those who refused would be thrown into a blazing furnace.  The King offered them a second chance with these taunting words, "What god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

The words returned from these young men were piercing, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from Your 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..."  

I have no doubt that God is able to accomplish any and every thing.  He is Almighty... All powerful... All knowing!   As easy as that is to type, is it as easy to live out... every day... in this world where we so frantically "need" God to act and respond... NOW?   We have all prayed diligently and even desperately for 'something' or even 'someone', only to receive an answer at that time that seemed to us to be no.  In simplest terms, does that mean HE isn't able?  I guess as I think through this "theological" dilemma, the answer really is simple.  God is faithful and gracious to us, but honestly, friends, it doesn't matter what we think, does it?  He says it - we either believe and trust Him or we don't.  Everything else is determined by that statement of faith.  That determines not just the big things we encounter, but all things - it is how we live - it is who we are!

The rest of the story for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is famous - not only did God save them, He sent an angel into the fire with them to protect them.  I love the end of verse 27 of the chapter, "Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched.  They didn't even smell of smoke."  Our powerful Father addressed even the way their clothes smelled for His purpose at that time.

HE IS certainly ABLE!

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