This Sunday, I’ll be preaching from Daniel 3. I’m always challenged by the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in response to Nebuchadnezzar’s threat of death by blazing furnace, because they demonstrate the kind of trust and faith I aspire toward:
If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up. (vv.17-18)
C.S. Lewis, through the character of Puddleglum in The Silver Chair (book six in the Chronicles of Narnia series), draws this out yet further:
Suppose we have only dreamed or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four [or more] babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia … Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.