But Even If He Doesn't2
by Mary Grace Conrad
Over the past three years, I’ve been waiting on, hoping for, and wondering if God will ever give me a baby. I’ve cried out like David, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13). I’ve pleaded and sobbed and begged. I’ve tried to “learn” and “do good” so that God would reward me with a child. I’ve dug through the bible looking for a promise that God would give me a baby. Surely, God will grant me my desire. And then I read Daniel 3:18: But even if He doesn’t.
Daniel 3 tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We all know it well from our childhood VBS days. King Nebuchadnezzar built a gold statue and ordered all people to bow down and worship this statue. Three Jews– Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego– refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar’s command, which meant they would be thrown into the burning furnace. Here is what they said:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Daniel 3: 16-18 gives us a perfect example of what our hope should look like. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego acknowledged God’s power. They were confident that God was able to save them. They were so confident in the Lord that they were able to say, “but even if He doesn’t.” Even if God didn’t save them from the fire, their hope was still in God alone. Even if refusing to follow the King’s command meant death, God was enough.
I must admit that when I’ve prayed for a child, the last thing I’ve wanted to say is, “But even if He doesn’t.” It’s such a bold and scary thing to say! If I say those five words, doesn’t it mean that I doubt God’s power and that I don’t really have hope? No! It’s the most powerful thing that I can say and believe. It means that I’m putting my hope right where it belongs– in God.
I’ve struggled so much to put my hope in God these past few years. Instead, I’ve been putting my hope in His gifts, in my plans, and in my desires, which is why I’m left each month feeling depressed, scared, and anxious. As a believer in Christ, I’m not meant to put my hope in earthly things (Colossians 3:2). I’m not meant to lean on promises that aren’t from the Lord (Proverbs 3:5). He doesn’t promise to extinguish every fire or move every mountain, nor does He promise to say yes to every prayer. He doesn’t promise me perfect health, prosperity, or a baby. So I will never find rest in these earthly desires and hopes. But what Daniel 3:18 shows me is that my hope and faith should be so rooted in God that I am not afraid to say, “even if.”
Even if I don’t get pregnant this month…
Even if I have to wait another year…
Even if I have to wait 5 more years…
Even if He never gives me biological children…
My hope is in God alone.
I can confidently put my hope in God, because His word never fails (Joshua 21:45). He promises that He is with me in the fire, and that I will not be consumed by its flames (Isaiah 43:2). He is with me in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He promises that if I put my hope in Him, I will experience His joy, and nothing on this earth can take it from me, not even infertility (John 16:22; Romans 8:38). God knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and He wrote my story before I was even born (Jeremiah 1:5). His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and His ways are better than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). And in these truths, I can rest.
I do hope that God will bless me with a baby one day. But I have to fight to put my hope in Him and trust that He is doing far better things than I could ever ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I must relinquish my expectations and replace my “What if’s” with “Even if’s.” After all, the best gift that God could give me is not a baby. The sweetest joy, the greatest treasure, and the most satisfying thing He could ever give me is more of Himself.
“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19