We’re not the first generation to live in a world increasingly hostile to the ways of God. We’re not the first to ponder “what if” as we pray and consider the consequences if God does not deliver.

What if there hadn’t been a ram caught in the thicket as Abraham prepared to sacrifice God’s Promise in obedience to God’s command?

What if the waters of the Red Sea had not parted and the newly freed Israelites had been slaughtered or drowned?

What if the priests that Joshua directed to set foot in the Jordan River had been swept away by flood-stage waters?

What if Esther had not been welcomed by the King when she entered his courts uninvited?

What if Gideon’s “army” of 300 was whittled down too much to win the battle?

What if David’s aim was off just a little, or God was asleep when Elijah was calling down fire?

We believe in a God who is able to deliver us, and will deliver us. But our prayers are offered in faith. Faith can be hoped for, but is not always seen. Our prayers are prefaced with “your will be done” and with trust that a sovereign God will answer according to what he has purposed.

The test of our prayers sometimes takes Danielian faith. It is the trust of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they declared that their God was able to deliver and would deliver … and then proved their trust with these words: but even if he doesn’t we will not serve your Gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

For their faith they were thrown into the furnace, only to be joined by a fourth man who looked like a son of the gods. Immanuel, God was with them.