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The Fire

I’ve always loved an exciting children’s Bible story. Growing up, I always got into the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. These three men were leaders appointed by the king to oversee an entire region, and were well-respected, upstanding citizens. They also faithfully followed God. They hadn’t done anything wrong or deserving of punishment. However, King Nebuchadnezzar was an evil king with a serious pride problem. He built a huge 90 ft. statue and demanded that everyone either worship his idol or face the consequence of death.


The three friends stood firm in their convictions to not bow down to any god but the One True God. They told the king that they didn’t need to defend themselves against him because, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. However even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel‬ ‭3:17-18‬)


The enraged king had them tightly bound up and thrown down into the fiery furnace which was so hot, the soldiers accompanying them were burnt up. From here, the story becomes even more intriguing. The king sees something supernatural and implausible happen: where there were only 3 men tied up and thrown down, there are now 4 walking freely around in the furnace. He calls them out and finds them unharmed, with the only things that burned up being the ropes that bound them.


There are times in life when we will face a full front attack by the enemy from no fault of ours. These men lived a righteous life, but they still faced this perilous trial. Their situation brought them to a crisis of belief, choosing between life or their faith. Do we choose to remain faithful in our convictions in a time of testing, or compromise for comfort, control, convenience, safety, job security, pleasing others? The list of reasons we put our faith to the side could continue on forever, but this is what I see from the men in this story: they stood firm facing death. They acknowledged that God held the power to save but even if He chose not to save them, they would never bend in their faith, no matter the cost. They accepted the consequences of following God and were thrown into the fire.


The Bible tells us that as a Christian we are going to face trials. Even when these three men stood firm in their faith and proclaimed allegiance to their God, they were not saved from going into the fire and were even “tied up” and “thrown down” into it. In the same way, we will find ourselves at times knocked down in the fire of hardships: financial problems, strains on our marriage, struggles with depression,difficult work situations, failing friendships, health problems or loss of a loved one.


Here’s the thing: Jesus went into the fire with them, and He will walk through your fire with you too. He promises to never leave us. If they hadn’t gone into the fire, they would’ve missed out on experiencing His tangible comfort, peace and even physical presence with them. We have to go into the fire to get the blessing! The ultimate result is a more intimate knowledge of who God is for us personally, as a comforter, savior, helper, friend, giver of peace, miracle-worker and provider, with the list going on. In the challenge of adversity, our faith has the potential to increase exponentially as we see Him working in our situation in an intimate way we would otherwise not get to experience Him.


When they came out of the fire, they were unharmed and only the ropes that had once bound them were burned. They were tied up, but the ropes were removed by the fire. God can use our problems and suffering to bring freedom to us from whatever is oppressing us, whether that be doubt, control, a recurrent sin, fear, perfectionism, legalism, pride, and whatever else the enemy has tried to capture us with. No chain from the enemy has the power to hold us if God wants us free.


Have you ever gone through a trial or suffering that brought you to a critical point in your faith where you had to decide between letting go of your faith or to stand firm? I faced this situation not long ago when I suffered a miscarriage at almost 12 weeks pregnant. I was following the Lord, loving Him and just smooth-sailing through life when all of a sudden everything seemed to crash down. I questioned, “How could You let this happen?” and “Why would You want this for me if You supposedly have good plans and love me?” The enemy tried to use the situation to convince me that my God did not love me, had bad plans and was not trustworthy.


I realized I was

at a crossroads:

I either believed or I didn’t,

but I couldn’t do both.


I chose to replace the lies I was tempted to believe with truths from God’s Word, which tells me that He is always faithful, He has good plans, He loves me and His ways are higher than mine. By going through that trying time, my faith grew in ways it never would have otherwise. He delivered me from the chains of fear and control I was wearing and set me free to trust Him in a fuller way with my life and my future.


You sometimes will have to enter the fire, but He will always go with you. Instead of questioning why you have to be in the circumstances you are, look around for the Lord, because He’s standing right there in the middle of it with you. He promises to walk you through the trials and suffering. The very things you think will break you, He will use to strengthen you, bless you and free you. Your biggest God moments in life await you in the fire.



 


Sarah Goodman is a wife, mother of 4 boys, and internal medicine physician that loves the Lord with all her heart. She’s passionate about sharing her faith to encourage others to go deeper in their spiritual walk. Her greatest desire is to be bold and courageous, proclaiming Christ’s good news of love, forgiveness and freedom to anyone who will listen!




 

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