16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 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. 18 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. ”
This trio is serving God; whether God serves them out of the furnace or serves them as Hebraica Flambe is up to Him.
That brings to mind the story of the Ground Zero cross that I was looking at this morning; the atheist leader that was protesting it's inclusion in a new 9/11 museum was mocking the mythical deity who failed to show up to stop things that day. That crazy theocon Jon Stewart wound up ripping him a new one over that exercise of tactlessness.
We serve God even when He doesn't step in to help. A couple of friends were Facebooking this morning over having a bad day with a chronic and oft-painful illness. God still loves them through all that; His lack of action isn't a show of disapproval.
God did wind up rescuing the three guys in this case, but there are a lot of other folks who did martyr's deaths when God didn't step in. These three were willing to be on either side of that equation, willing to be God's version of Schrödinger's cat, with God's will rather than quantum fluxuations being the decision-maker.
I'm reminding of the refrain of the Righteous Brothers' Rock and Roll Heaven-"If you believe in forever, than life is just a one night stand" (the music tour version, one hopes). SM&A were weighting that eternity with God versus seeing their short lives cut shorters and erring on not ticking off the One they'd be spending a lot more time with.