“But if not…”

2012 has not been kind to my family so far.

  • My position at work was eliminated on January 23 (there is a story with this that will take a series of posts in the near future to share)
  • This makes the 3rd time in 8 years that I my job was eliminated.  Hope it’s not true that each time this happens is takes 12-18 months off of your life expectancy because at the rate I am going…the math is not pretty!
  • The week I was let go, I had to take Lisa (my wonderful wife) to the ER for a kidney stone (10 years since her last one)
  • Various surprise expenses have popped up (major car repairs, dishwasher needs replaced, etc.)
  • Lisa & I headed out of town yesterday heading for Minnesota so that I could assist her with a show for her business (Urban Farmhouse).  This was hopefully going to be an opportunity to sell, sell, sell and get some great PR.  We got as far as Indianapolis and Lisa was hit with another kidney stone.   We then spent 5 hours in an Indiana ER and then had orders to head back to the hospital in Lancaster, Ohio (where Lisa’s doctor practices). We arrived there around 9pm last night and they admitted her and she is to have a procedure done tomorrow to bust up the stone.

I share this only so you can see where I am coming from.  The title of this posting comes from Daniel 3:17 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego told King Nebuchadnezzar “…O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

The amazing thing here is that these three stated they were confident God could deliver them from the king’s punishment BUT IF NOT  (because just because He can do something does not mean He will) they want the king to be clear they will not do what he asks.  Now we all have things we want/need and I would bet we pray for these things from time to time.  What I wonder is if we also include “But if not…” in the prayer as well.  Do we let God know that regardless of what He chooses to do, we will always carry on in His name and pursue His will and not our own?  That’s a tough one for me and I am not standing anywhere near a burning, fiery furnace!

I wear a purple wristband from our local F.C.A. chapter that reads, “Soli Deo Gloria” (For the Glory of God Alone) and it has served me well this past  6 weeks.  There are times I rub it and pray that I am pursuing things in His name and not in my own.  The majority of the time I pray for wisdom to understand what His plans are for our family and the strength to face what comes after “But if not…”




Filed under Real Life, The Human Condition

11 responses to ““But if not…”

  1. Heather

    I really appreciate this post! I am so sorry you are experiencing such trying times; I had a similar experience in 2007. All I can say is “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” Pray without ceasing…and know you have others praying for you as well.

  2. markthog

    This is a great encouragement, Perry, and a great statement of faith in God’s providential love and care for us. Perhaps another wrist band is in order…one that says “But if not…”

  3. melissa arrington

    amen,, I understand.. It is abiout trust.. That Jesus has got me. no matter what. It is the Faith and trust in Him alone. Not of this world or what it has to offer or take away I trust Him … He has got my back… To God be the glory!!!!

  4. Perry, I’ve grown to just love your wife through our mutual business interests/blogging, etc. and what a privilege it is to read your thought and see a bit into her “other half” here. 🙂

    I am very sorry that you are walking through this right now — but I am equally moved by your unswerving resolve to, no matter what the earthly circumstance, say at the end of the day, ‘but if not…”

    How wonderful to read of someone who does not judge God’s lovingkindness by how calm He keeps our lives, but by how gracious He is in the first place to sustain our lives with each second.

    Your words provide a perspective here that reveals a great deal about your walk with Him and the depth of your trust in Him with your family’s life and well-being.

    I love the way your bring into focus the fact that whether He does or does not choose to do a thing (we could each fill in the blank here) in no way colors the fact of His goodness or His love for us (that was established at the cross).

    Perry it is a pleasure, indeed, to “meet” the great other half of the great Lisa! 🙂

    Let’s get that gal better so you two can get back on the road as a dynamic duo! 🙂

    Thanks so very much for being transparent while sharing some of the most profound truth.


  5. clinton

    Thanks for sharing. A very good word for the day.

  6. I admire your faith in the midst of all these trials. The Lord went into the fiery furnace with those 3 young men – the King even asked who was the fourth man. The whole plan may be hard to understand but HE will never leave us nor forsake us. I’m a FB friend with Lisa and will pray for her speedy recovery and a good job for you!

  7. I so appreciated your post and I wanted to share my favorite verse (James 1:2-4). I am studying Kay Arthur’s book “As Silver Refined: Answers to Life’s Disappointments.The book provides wonderful guidance for helping us understand our disappointments are really his appointments.

  8. Anne

    But if not, accept that God is showing you a greater and mightier thing. You may not like it and it may not be nice, but know that He only disciplines his children , whom He loves. (I as well am still kicking and screaming and slowly learning my lesson) not easy- and know that there are others in similar, worse and much worse conditions. Praise Him through the storm and hang in. God bless

  9. Deb Bradford

    But if not…rest assured, that when we are placed in the furnace of affliction, we are made even finer gold. My husband, who is only 58, had a major stroke in October. Since then, even when he was near death, we have experienced unmeasured blessings, for which we praise His name!

    Though we certainly would never choose to go through these difficult times, it is when times are most difficult that we truly depend on God. Among the most precious blessings has been the closeness of our family, and the renewed love my husband and I have experienced for each other.

    We are reading through Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” together…that is, I read, and my husband leads us in prayer, as he is no longer able to see small print. Through my husband’s infirmity, we have so clearly seen God’s plan for mankind. Where, but in the divinely created institution of marriage and the family, would such a sharing of strength be possible?

    I am FB friends with your wife, (through Urban Farmhouse Ohio) and enjoy vicariously the adventures my husband & I aren’t able to pursue these days. Rest assured that we will keep you & your family in our prayers. May the Lord bless & keep you all in His loving care.

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