February 1, 2021
In the Bible, King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego worship his golden statue — an act against God’s commandment to “not make unto thee any graven image.”1 The brothers refused, despite the fact that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace for disobeying. They believed God would keep them safe; but if not, their faith would not waver.
“If it be so, our God [will] deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”2
Physically paralyzed, but spiritually strong
Elder Neil L. Andersen shared a story in our modern-day, similar to the one about the brothers, of a man named Jason Hall. Jason was in a terrible accident that left his body paralyzed. After the incident, Jason prayed, “‘Dear Father [in Heaven], if I could only have my hands, I know I could make it. Please, Father, please.’”3
Despite his earnest prayers, God did not give Jason the use of his hands. But still, Jason moved forward in faith. He worked hard, graduated from university, married within the temple, had a son, sought for joy, and received comfort regardless of his challenges.
Jason knew that one day — whether in this life or the next— God would make him whole. President Russell M. Nelson shared, “If we look to the world … we will never know joy. … [Joy] is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.”4 As Jason sought to live the gospel, he was blessed with this joy despite his circumstances.
Thrown into the furnace of trial
At times, our challenges will be similar to those of Jason Hall and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. We will be pushed to our limits, and our faith will be tested. Other times, our trials will be less life-altering, but still just as impactful. While it can be hard, we should strive to accept that we won’t always have control over our circumstances.
We will experience failures, setbacks, and hardships in life and school. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t still love us, protect us, or lead us to a life full of blessings and joy. Often, these challenges are part of God’s plan, and as we follow Him, we will learn that they were for our good.
Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy said, “The Lord has given us agency, the right and the responsibility to decide. He tests us by allowing us to be challenged. He assures us that He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand.”5
Sometimes, it may take a mindset of, “If not, God is still good,” to get through hardships, along with a perspective firmly placed in the gospel. Elder Brian K. Taylor shares just how we can do this: “God walks with us along the covenant path as we seek Him through prayerful pleading, spiritual searching, and obedient striving.”6
By pursuing education and striving to better ourselves, we are following God’s plans and inviting more opportunities for happiness and blessings into our lives.
The Savior will not leave you
God never abandoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and he’ll never abandon you. King Nebuchadnezzar said while he observed the spectacle, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”7
While we continue with our studies, work toward our goals, and overcome the trials placed before us, God will remain right by our side as we firmly hold onto our faith. He will stand with us when we are thrown into our own personal “fiery furnaces,” again and again, to protect us and guide us home to Him.
How has knowing Christ helped you through challenges? Share in the comments!
Comments on "But If Not"
This is a powerful spiritual thought for my day today. I love the faith Jason had to move forward despite his afflictions. What a great lesson I have learned. I know that our Savior will not leave us alone if we trust in Him.
I know our redeemer Jesus Christ lives and He loves most. Thank you Jesus for BYU-Pathway, the Church of Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon, and thank you for loving us.
I truly appreciate these articles, as we need so much to hold fast to — faith especially. When things don’t go the way we want, I do believe this is exactly what our Heavenly Father and the Savior would have us do.
Thank you for giving me an added boost of hope.
I love this perspective! It is reassuring to know that we can feel control in letting go of our control unto God, even in the midst of what feels like a burning fire prevailing against us.
Wow, I just loved it! It was so inspired. I feel God’s love through this message. While I was reading it and translating it to my mom, I was amazed at two things: how fast I’m learning English and fluency in the language with BYU-Pathway, and also how the Lord helps and loves us so, so much. He is right by our side, and He’s willing to be in our own “fiery furnaces” ❤
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