“If our God whom we serve can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O King, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O King, that we will not serve your God or worship the golden statues that you set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
The key phrase here is, but even if He will not.
How many times have we prayed and begged for God to take our pain away? How many times have we become angry, anxious, or depressed because no matter what we do the pain won’t go away? If it’s depression that’s causing the pain we become depressed about being depressed, the infamous double depression.
We can take all kinds of medicine; sometimes we can even become addicted to the medicine prescribed to help us. Take medicine, yes, if needed, but don’t put your entire faith in it or it becomes your god on which you wholly depend. Medicine is there to help chronic conditions, rarely cure them completely.
When our suffering is mental or emotional we can end up in therapy for years looking for some sort of deep underlying cause. I wish there was such a thing. Then we’d find the key to our suffering and make it stop. This will never happen, of course. The root cause of all suffering is Original Sin. Therapy can only help us gain some insight and perspective and teach us tools to navigate through life more healthily.
We can go to confession weekly and mass daily, attend adoration, or pray for intercession from our favorite Blessed or Saint. We can pray rosary or a chaplet, or meditate on scripture. Even after all of that we can suffer from our illnesses. For some these spiritual and religious practices provide comfort. For others all remains as one big question mark. Darkness and doubt can add to our suffering even if we do everything spiritually “right.”
These are the times when we need to remember the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar as they faced the hot furnace: “Even if He will not [save us from our pain], know that we will not serve your god [whatever form it takes].”
We will love and serve the Lord our God, no matter how we feel.
Picture is The Crucifixion by Paolo Veneziano (1340-1350), public domain.