It is a deep belief of mine that the Christian life if characterized by trials, tribulations, and sufferings. Others might think if we serve such a great God why does He let us suffer. It may be a hard concept to grasp but He does BECAUSE He loves us and wants to refine us to HIS image. How wonderful that for a previous post God gave me a scripture that clearly reveals this.
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12
There's so much I enjoy from the book of Daniel. One of which is Daniel 4 and the transformation of King Nebuchadnezzar (Neb as I like to call him). But for this time, I want to reflect on three men, whom I have always loved the sound of their three names together. Tongue twister, maybe, but beauty for sure... Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Neb made a huge image of gold and summoned every one to come to the dedication of the image. They were all told that as soon as they heard the sound of the horn and music, they were to fall down and worship the image of gold that King Neb set up. Whoever chose not to do this would immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. Some astrologers made it a point to inform the King that some Jews in charge of Babylon refused to serve the King's gods nor worship the image of gold. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were summoned by King Neb. He told them again they were to do this or burn by the fire. "Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Daniel 3:15b (Remember this verse.)
Let's read the rest of it as I cannot do justice by simply paraphrasing. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "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." Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:16-30
Thrown into the fired, saved from the fire, and promoted as a result of the fire.
What profession of faith and willingness to give up their lives for God. What beauty God provided as a reward of their faith. This is not just a story of faith and what it means to stand up for our faith in God. This is about the fireS (plural) of life that WILL come. In the middle of this fire, SEVEN TIMES HOTTER, they were protected. Notice something else that totally brings me to tears and to my knees. God was with them and right beside them. He walked through the fire with them. He didn't stop the king from throwing them into the fire but rather once in there, God walked with them. And look at the result...the king commanded that anyone who just speaks against their God would be "cut into pieces". (That sounds like a horror flick.) He also promoted the three men.
Let's reflect more on the most pivotal point of this story. GOD WAS WITH THEM. In the worst time of their life, He was with them. Notice He also didn't allow them to be harmed...no singed hair, no scorched robes, no smell of smoke, nothing! Well, you may say you have scares from your fires and trials life. You may have. But in the large realm, did you not come out unharmed? Has He not made you whole again? Has He not made good from your bad? Many women have testimonies of divorce, death of a child, physical ailment, physically abusive spouse, death of spouse. BUT if I took a poll, I would guarantee that through all that something good has happened. I would even bet somethingS (plural) have happened.
Please know the Father IS WITH YOU! In the middle of that ever so hot fire, He is right next to you. He is protecting you from being consumed by the fire. You may say you have deep scars from your fire but have you ever thought about how many things the Lord has protected you from? Don't you think there are many more scars that you could've had but He saved you from them? It could've been worse. Right? Yes. In all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28
Don't be afraid of the fire. YES, it most definitely is painful, hard, difficult, torturous at times, heartbreaking. No matter how you wound up in the fire, whether out of being obedient to God's call on your life or by walking away from Him, endure the fire with the Father. (Yes, obedience can cause hardships.) He will walk you through it and you will come out better for having been through it and not escaped it. I am a walking testimony of that. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:1-2
So whattaya gonna do? Do you need to reframe your perspective and fear of the fire?
Ponder on this scripture God recently showed me.
"Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29
He has things to teach us and show us in the middle of the fire.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
Meditate on His power and protection.
"Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory." Psalm 97:3-6
Following Him Through the Fire,