Some Things We Have Control Over, Some Things We Don't
“But even if He does not…” – Daniel 3:18
Many years ago Amy and I went to a concert in Phoenix, Arizona and first heard British artist Matt Redman sing ‘Blessed Be Your Name.’ Everyone in the audience seemed to really enjoy the song, but I just stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks as he sang:
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.
You give and take away. You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.
The song reminded of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire in 600 BC, who built a huge gold statue (90 feet high and 9 feet thick!) and invited all the important Babylonian leaders to the dedication ceremony. But the ceremony had a strange twist. A herald proclaimed in a loud voice: “Attention, everyone! When the music begins, fall to your knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Anyone who does not kneel and worship shall be thrown immediately into a roaring furnace.” (Neb obviously had a flair for the dramatic).
When King Neb learned that three of his leaders refused to worship his idol, he had the men brought before him. Neb demanded that they comply with his command, and reminded them he was dead serious about burning them alive if they refused to bow down to his big gold statue.
Their response to the king, a man who had the authority to murder them on the spot, intrigues me: “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.”
There are some things we have control over, and some things we don’t. These guys didn’t know if God would spare their lives or if they would be burned alive. They knew He could save them—but whether He would was unclear. They didn’t have control over God’s actions—only their own. And they made a decision to worship God, no matter what challenges came their way.
Years earlier, when Job learned the Sabeans stole his oxen and donkeys, the Chaldeans stole his camels, his servants had been murdered, lightening burned up his sheep and shepherds, and all of his children died in a tornado, he fell to the ground in worship and said: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
There are some things we have control over, and some things we don’t. Job didn’t have control over his circumstances—but he had control over his response. And he chose to worship God, no matter what challenges life gave him.
It appears that Amy might not yet been miraculously healed. This is God’s call—He can heal her if He desires and we are praying earnestly, in pisteuo, that He does. But even if He does not, may the name of the Lord be praised.
On August 11, 1755, during a worship service led by John Wesley at a French church in London, he prayed this prayer:
I am not my own but Yours.
Put me to what You will.
Rank me with whom You will.
Put me to doing or put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You.
Let me be exalted for You or brought low for You.
Let me be full or let me be empty.
Let me have all things or let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to Your power and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am Yours.
So be it.
There are some things we have control over, and some things we don’t. God is in charge of Amy’s healing, we will worship Him regardless—because He is good. We serve Him regardless. We love Him regardless. Blessed be the name of the Lord.