Sunday, October 23, 2016

But if not---

I am stirred by the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the book of Daniel, found in the Old Testament. In summary, King Nebuchadnezzar commands all men to bow down and worship a golden image he has created. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refuse. King Nebuchadnezzar is ticked and responds:  

Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

The Jewish boys respond: "You betcha!" Now the King is doubly ticked! Not only do they refuse to abandon their God when all is well in their world, they continue to refuse to leave their God when things get a "little hot".

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

And this is the part I love; Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego respond to their executioner by declaring:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
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. Daniel 3

I remember teaching a lesson regarding this principle: "But if not..." Could I be faithful to my God if I was thrown into a fiery furnace? If those that I love left God? If I was betrayed? If my child died? If my spouse was unfaithful? In my mind, I've always thought, "Of course!" Nothing could come between me and my relationship with God. But this week-end, I felt differently.

Annie Schmidt, daughter of Jon and Michelle Schmidt went missing. Her car was found near the Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River Gorge. Michelle is my sister's best friend from High School. My sister loves Michelle. And because my sister loves Michelle, I love Michelle and Michelle's sweet Annie.

Today is day seven of the search and rescue attempt to find Annie. Yet, no Annie. I have been heart-broken, even angry. In my mind, I've asked "Why, Why can't they just find her?! Michelle and Jon have been faithful!" I've tried to find peace, but like the rescue teams searching for Annie- nothing. Then this morning, I knelt down to pray. I felt I should express gratitude instead of just begging for answers. So, I thanked God for the good weather to allow the search to continue, for all of the volunteers that came to help and for the search and rescue crews. However, I still felt unsettled.

And then during one of the meetings at church, I captured a bit of understanding. President Uchtdorf relates the following from the parable of the Good Shepard:
The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd. He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. It matters not how you became lost- whether because of your own poor choices or because of circumstances beyond your control. What matters is that you are His child. And He loves you. He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home

That's what I needed.

Annie is still missing. And I believe they are entertaining suspending the search and rescue mission. On top of, I can't even imagine what Jon and Michelle are experiencing. Still, I found a glimmer of hope in the knowledge that Annie is not missing to God. She is His. And that has always been enough.

#bringherhome #prayersforannie


  1. Susan, as always, your words are golden. That fiery furnace does get hot, and sometimes answers take a very long time to come. The refiner's fire does not match the scope of our mortal understanding, yet He is creating His masterpiece in us. He truly knows not only "where you are" but who you are, and He is always right with us in the fire.

  2. Cherlynn, as always, you are more wise than all of us. YOUR words are SO true! Our mortal understanding is incredibly limited...and I suppose that is why faith is the first principle of the Gospel. I love you, my angel friend!

  3. Wow. Some things are just so hard, aren't they? Thanks for sharing something so genuine in such a beautiful way.

  4. Life is brutal and beautiful. You were inspired to comment today. I'm going to send you an e-mail. Love you.