Friday, September 14, 2012

IF Statements

I've taken a few computer programming courses in my schooling career, and the first conditional programming you learn is the IF statement. It's pretty straight forward:

IF (condition statement is true)
    Do this.
    Do this instead.

It makes sense that this is the first kind of conditional programming that students learn. Why? Because that's how we, as humans, tend to operate in life.

If (whatever) happens to me, then I'll do (whatever). Otherwise, I'll do (whatever). In essence, it's your basic human being, forming a plan of their own. They have their plan clearly decided on, and they're ready with a back-up plan, just in case.

But life doesn't follow our plans. Perhaps it's better restated: Life doesn't initialize your planned program first, and then run with it. Sometimes, it just so happens that your plan and life actually do match up. But to think that it matches up because you wrote the program is asking for a humility software upgrade to be installed. I bet each and every person reading this right now has at some point in their lives known exactly what it feels like to suddenly realize that life happened not according to your plan. Ah, those wonderful moments of getting one of these in real life:


So what's a human being to do?

The point I'm trying to make is that you really have no choice when life throws something unexpected at you. Now, I'm not talking about predestination or free will here. I do believe we as human beings have free will, but it's a fact that we are limited beings and only have control over limited amounts. There will inevitably be moments in your life that will be unexpected and unplanned for you. That's what I mean by "you really have no choice". Get ready, it's coming.

A really inspiring example of this is found in Daniel 3. Daniel had three friends, abbreviated SAM for short (one for S, one for A, and one for M) because I don't want to try to type their crazy long names right now. ;)

So Daniel and SAM were all in the Babylonian kingdom because King Nebuchadnezzar had invaded and exiled the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Daniel just so happens to not be in this chapter I'm discussing.

So King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue idol, and he called for all the people to bow down and worship it. The decree was that any who didn't bow down and worship it would be immediately cast into a furnace of blazing fire. SAM were present and did not bow down and worship the idol because they loved and honored the Lord. Some tattle-tales went and told King Nebuchadnezzar that SAM did not bow down and worship the idol, so therefore they should be cast into the furnace, right? So King Nebuchadnezzar called SAM to his presence, and he asked them if it's true that they would not bow down and worship his golden idol. He also warned them: "But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?"

I'm going to just copy and paste their reply, because I could not restate it better:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

The story is so fascinating and ends with the miraculous preservation of their three lives after being thrown into the furnace that was heated to 7x hotter than usual. Not a hair on their bodies was singed.

But the part I want to focus on is their response to the unexpected and unplanned situation that life threw at them. They had great faith.

They never doubted God's power or ability to deliver them from their bad situation or circumstances. They also recognized that though their God was perfectly powerful and able to save them, He might not choose to. But even if He did not, they were resolved to remain faithful until the end. Until the potential end of their lives.

Now if you're struggling with an unplanned detour in your life, you may struggle a lot like I have (am) with the thought that God might not choose to deliver you from what you're going through. In my case, God might not choose to give Michael and me biological children. Trust me when I tell you, that thought is incredibly hard to swallow. It is so difficult to admit that that may be our future, how our journey ends. But we are called to remain faithful...even if He does not answer our prayers according to our plans. We are called to love God, no matter how this journey ends. Can you do that? Can you remain faithful until the very end? Can I?

I hope so. I plan to live my life and eventually die trying -- no matter what unexpected events come my way. I think that's the one plan that God wants us all to keep. I hope these three men inspired you as much as they inspired me.

Love & Hope,

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