From the Pastor's Desk
Prevention is better than a cure. So you eat your vegetables, drink eight glasses of water each day, stay away from illicit substances, exercise regularly, drive within the speed limit, pray, and believe the Bible. Despite all the effort, sometimes stuff still goes wrong: you have a heart attack; your mother gets cancer; your marriage falls apart; your children rebel; you lose your job; the list goes on. Life isn't easy, and sometimes it deals you a rotten hand. Don't succumb to the weight of it all; find hope in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because what you need is a miracle in the fire.
When you read the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3, one thing is apparent: they were fully persuaded. Nothing could make them bow to Nebuchadnezzar's statue - no threats, no consequence, no punishment. They were fully persuaded of the promises of God and in their obedience to him (Daniel 3:16-18). If life has pushed you too far, it is time to rise up with the attitude of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - an attitude where you are fully persuaded.
God can rescue me from cancer... Even if he doesn't, I will not bow down. God can restore my marriage... Even if he doesn't, I will not bow down. God will cause me to prosper... Even if he doesn't, I will not bow down.
You might expect a fully persuaded attitude would cause breakthrough. Not necessarily. When Nebuchadnezzar heard Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's words of defiance, he did not back down either. He turned up the pressure. Things got even hotter (Daniel 3:19). Things may be heating up in your life - divorce, custody battles, sickness, financial worries. You took a stand for God but things just got worse. You found yourself staring down a fire. A fire like none you've seen. You thought God would save you from the fire. You prayed God would save you from the fire. But it remains. Don't despair. Because when the devil turns up the heat, God does too.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
God isn't going to save you from the fire. He will bring you through it. When you walk through the fire of cancer, sickness, divorce, financial ruin - you shall not be burned. Nebuchadnezzar made the fire so hot it killed some of his strongest soldiers (Daniel 3:22). Fire is deadly - for some. But you will not be truly burned. If you are fully persuaded of the promises of God, you will not be destroyed. You expected the miracle outside the fire. You thought God would save you before things went that far. But for you, the miracle is in the fire. Like it was for three Hebrews.
When Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fire, their chains broke, Jesus walked with them, and they did not smell of smoke (Daniel 3:24-27). When you walk through the fire, chains will break. Satan has used your situation to keep you living a small and contained life. No longer! Chains break in the fire. According to the promise of Isaiah 43, Jesus will walk with you in the fire. Whatever the trouble or trial may be, you will have a tangible sense of his presence. Jesus reveals himself in the fire. Watch for deeper revelation and worship experiences in your life.
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego exited the fire, they received a promotion. King Nebuchadnezzar saw the goodness and favor of God on their lives and promoted them in his worldly kingdom (Daniel 3:30). The fire may have been your greatest test, but on the other side you will experience spiritual promotion, for fire always refines. You may also encounter physical promotion in your job and experience greater favor with those you know. Others will recognize the goodness of God through your faith. If the fires of life are threatening, take heart. The miracle of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is a miracle for you too. Be fully persuaded. Believe the promise, so when the pressure increases, you receive protection and ultimately promotion.
Don't give up. Your miracle may be in the fire.