My Battle Cry

My Battle Cry

I collect coffee mugs. Every morning, as I make my coffee, I look at the shelf of mugs, deciding which one I need for the day… it sounds silly, I know. But I love looking at them all and carefully deciding which one I will use. As I take the first sip I often think about where I got the mug and allow myself to reminisce … it is almost like visiting the time and place all over again.
In hindsight, I should have chosen a smaller token to collect… my coffee mug shelf is pretty full.
This is one of my favorites – bought in 2019 in Hanapepe on the isle of Kauai. I cannot hold it without smiling – remembering the perfect weather, beautiful sights, and yummy food. I cannot hold it without thinking about all of the laughter and joy my family shared the week we were there. It features the yellow Chinese Hibiscus and, on the other side (not pictured) the Red-Crested Cardinal I saw so many times during my stay.  
I needed that mug this morning.
I woke up to a text that a dear family friend died of cancer in the early hours of the morning. My Mom and Brother were there, with their family, as he took his last breath on this earth. My heart hurts for their family – he was only diagnosed with esophageal cancer weeks ago. So fast. And while they are praising God that He is fully healed and fully whole, their hearts weep. And me, I am weeping with those who weep.
I remember the day he was diagnosed; I began asking the Lord for a miracle of healing. Asking Him to remove the cancer and restore the cells to health. I kept praying. But the healing this side of Heaven did not come – and that is hard.
As I hold my bright mug, I remember Daniel 3. You know, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are confronted by King Nebuchadnezzar for not bowing down to his golden statue. The King says he will throw them into the fiery furnace if they do not agree to bow down to the idol. This is their response, verses 16-18:

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “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.”

But even if He does not, we will not praise or serve your gods.

But even if He does not, we will only praise Him.

This verse is my battle cry. The men knew the Lord is bigger than even their fear, their doubt, their mortality. God is Lord of All.

Now, we know the rest of the story. The Lord sent an angel to protect the men as the King threw them into the fiery furnace (so hot it killed the guards escorting them). The King and company watched as they saw FOUR men in the fire. The 3 men walked out, unsinged. A miracle.

But they were praising Him before the miracle. Why? Because He is good, He is trustworthy, He is faithful. Even when our circumstances are not.  

I am mindful that we don’t always get the miracle. But that is not going to keep me from asking – seeking – knocking. Because I know He is good. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. I am going to hold this mug and think about the goodness of God, even as I weep with those who weep.

And I am going to praise Him. Even in the fire.

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