I want to be successful in my ministry without effort or discomfort, to be a giant of faith without a fight. I struggle against circumstances, self, and external enemies. I totter on the brink of obedience while yearning for heaven. Like a small child in the backseat, I whine, “Are we there, yet?”
Death seemed imminent, yet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to give their lives rather than worship, or even pretend to worship, something other than the One true God. The heat from the fiery furnace was so fierce it killed the men who threw them into the fire. Even so, God protected and saved them without burns or even the smell of smoke.
We cheer this one test of faith but forget Scripture hints at a myriad of experiences they endured. The three boys had been ripped from their homeland. Their rich, privileged, influential families were murdered. They were neutered, probably sexually abused, and forced to serve the conquerors who had done this to them. Even after the fiery furnace, they had daily choices to make about how they felt, served, forgave, trusted, and obeyed.
Salvation in Christ is not a free pass out of situations that seem too hot: chronic pain, loss of loved ones, traumatic experiences, and unjust circumstances. Your fiery furnaces and fears may be different than mine, but to all who demand we serve them you can say, “God is able to save us out of the fire of our problems. If He doesn’t, He will walk us through. Even if we die, we will serve nothing except our God.”
Ask God to strengthen you with His Holy Spirit so you can endure and be bold.
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