Do you remember someone by the name of Cassie Bernall? Heaven does. Cassie was the girl who was asked the question, ‘Do you believe in God?’ For those of you who remember Cassie, you know that her question did not come from a Sunday School, but rather a gunman who was ready to kill her. Her reply was ‘yes’ and with that she was immediately killed. (April 20, 1999, Columbine School Shooting)
You have to wonder what went through Cassie’s mind when the gunman first asked her the question. No doubt she could see the rage in his eyes and she knew that the wrong answer would end her life. But apparently, with little or no hesitancy, Cassie boldly said yes.
Nearly 2,500 years ago, three young Hebrew men found themselves in a similar situation. They were living a long ways from home in a country called Babylon and they were faced with a decision of whether to remain committed to God or to take the easy way out. The King of Babylon had built a statue of himself and commanded that everyone in his kingdom bow down and worship the image. All did except these three young Hebrew men. When questioned about their disobedience they replied –
“O 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 save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
‘Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not…’ That’s a powerful declaration. It is one thing to say that we believe in God when everything is going well; but it is entirely different when we are staring into the face of danger. At that moment we have to dig deep and determine what it is that we really believe and who it is that we serve. Even while writing this, I am doing some serious self-examination concerning how I would respond to such a situation. Would I be as Cassie and the three young Hebrew men? Would I say, ‘Yes, I believe in God!’ or would I be tempted to take the easy way out?
Perhaps we can’t know for sure how we would respond unless we are faced with a similar situation. Yet in a sense we rehearse our answer a million times throughout life. We rehearse our answer as we walk by a magazine rack or scan across the channels of the TV. We rehearse our answer when someone comes to us with a juicy piece of gossip. We rehearse our answer while waiting in the doctor’s office or when we hear some discouraging news. ‘Do you really believe in God?’ will be the question Satan will whisper in many of our ears. I pray that each of us will respond by saying, ‘Yes! I believe!’