Another in the Fire

By Ryan Dawson

I love stories about God showing up in really incredible ways.  We need to be reminded of God’s presence and power in our lives, especially when things don’t go the way we expect.  It makes me think of the astonishing story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - If you haven’t read this one in a while go and check it out in Daniel 3:16-30.

King Nebuchadnezzar commanded these Jewish exiles to worship him, and when they refused Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace.   But Rach, Shach, and Benny (as per Veggie Tales) were absolutely committed to following God, even if it cost them their lives.  Faced with certain death their response to the King is staggering:  

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.18 But 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 3:16-18

This statement reveals that the faith of these believers was so strong that even if God didn’t show up in the way they thought He should, they still knew their faith was well placed.  They would worship God “even if He doesn’t” deliver them.  I wonder if I have this kind of faith?  I wonder if you do?  

But this account is helpful for us in another way, because there are times we face very difficult trials, and our default is to ask God to take these things away as quickly as possible.  But sometimes God has a different plan.  Sometimes God will deliver us miraculously from the fire, as in this case, but sometimes he will allow the trial to linger, as a way to mature our faith and to refine our character.  Someone once said and I think it is true: “Sometimes God calms the storm…but sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.”  That’s the “even if He doesn’t” part of faith isn’t it?  That’s real and genuine faith, and like precious medal I think this kind of faith is quite rare.  And it only develops from a life of walking very closely with God through many trials and troubles.

But what we must remember, and this story bears it out, that regardless of how and when God delivers us, He promises to be with us amid our trials.  When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace he didn’t see three men, he saw four, and the fourth “looked like a Son of the gods.”  I believe that was Christ walking with the three Hebrews.  This same Son of God gave himself on a cross, the ultimate cosmic furnace, to reveal His love to us and to form us into His likeness.  This is our ultimate deliverance, and it is already ours in Christ.

Remember, that whatever you are going through today, God is with you, and He loves you.  There is Another in the fire with you.  "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

Blessings, Ryan