Daniel 3:18 "...and if not, He is still good."

For those of you who do not know the story of Daniel, Daniel was a prophet of God who wrote about his time in captivity and yet showed all how the Lord still provided. In the first 6 chapters of Daniel, Daniel writes about his own experiences within captivity by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. When Daniel was told to deny God himself or be thrown into a burning furnace (Daniel 3), Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he would never deny his God, and that God would deliver him from the furnace..."and if not, He is still good". Never once did Daniel question the validity of God or trust in Him to provide protection and every need for Daniel...he just knew.

I will admit, I have not always had the faith like Daniel. My mother has been sick most of my life, and that caused me to resent God. I thought an almighty, powerful, creator of the universe should not be allowed to have His children suffer they way I was, the way my mom was and the way my family did--but I thought God was allowing the suffering.

I hated everything that was God-related and I wanted nothing to do with Him, until my uncle John died. A week prior to my uncle's death, I was at a new low in my hatred toward God, and I can still remember my words to the Lord when I prayed to Him again for the first time. I said "Lord, if You are real, then hear me now. I have hated You for so long, but something keeps saying to me even though I hate You, that doesn't change Your existence. So, prove it. Do. Not. Take. John. From. Me. Not yet. Let me say goodbye to him one last time. Let me tell him I love him one last time, God, please." Needless to say, God showed me His power, and I had my prayers answered. I was able to say goodbye to John and tell him I love him, one last time before John passed away a week later.

This story was not irrelevant, and has a purpose in my life and to this article. I am asked daily, how do I trust in the Lord and believe in Him even after I have seen death and pain. How can I worship a "god who allows so much destruction in (my) life"? If God was real, why wouldn't He have stopped Adam and Eve in the Garden and prevented all the sin from entering the world in the first place? How can I believe He is real?! The answer is simple, I know He is real because I have seen His grace and His mercy. I can trust in God through whatever come my way because I know He has a plan, like He had for Daniel. God knew exactly what he was doing when He waited to rescue Daniel until the lions den. Was Daniel saved, yes, but through the Lord, and Daniel's faith in Him.

This past weekend, I attended a retreat with my university that we like to call Fall Out. This was my second year attending and let me tell you, the messages this year hit me with a force straight from the Lord. The guest speaker, Pastor Curtis Gilbert from The Journey Metro East, spoke on Isaiah 6:1-8 and how we have a relationship with Jesus and build on that relationship with Him. For so long, we have pushed Jesus away or made him to be like a "homie" in our friend group, but we do not take a second to remember that "Jesus has already lived all out tomorrows as He's already lived all our yesterdays". We forget that we serve a mighty God who is seated on a throne and commands the seas to move, and mountains to move! He has placed every hair on my head before I was even grown!

There is a line in one of my favorite series called "Love Comes Softly" by Janette Oke from her first in series that states "the truth of God's love is not that he allows bad things to happen. It's His promise that He'll be here with us when they do". God has given us free will, and yes, bad things happen; but through His grace, He will walk through each season of sorrow with us. He will wipe away every tear from my eye and be my strength when I have none left. I know this because He has done so for me, and for his children in the past (see the entire book of Exodus).

I can trust in God, because I know that at the end of the day, He knows each of my days, and I only need to be still (Psalm 46:10), He already knows my future (Jeremiah 29:11) , and worrying cannot change that (Matthew 6:25-34). Daniel did not worry about his outcome while Nebuchadnezzar was threatening to kill him, and neither should I. Daniel had undying faith in the Lord and Daniel was delivered from captivity. "...and if not, He is still good".