Thriving in the Fire

Have you ever read a Bible passage and instantly knew it was what you needed to hear that day?
Well, the other day, I had that experience.  I opened up my Bible and found myself in Daniel chapter 3 (I’ve been reading through the prophets one chapter a day).  In Daniel 3 I read the story where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego get thrown into the fiery furnace.  I will never cease to be amazed at their great faith and boldness to stand up for God even when it was going to cost them their life.
But what stood out to me this time as I read the story was not their bold faith.  It was the part when after they were thrown into the fiery furnace and there was a fourth man with them.
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, Your Majesty.” 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.” (Daniel 3:24-25)
The fourth man in the fire was a form of God himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the furnace, unharmed by the flames, just “chillin’ with Jesus” during one of the scariest moments of their lives.  I have to say, after reading this story again, I found so much encouragement and truth for my own life.   I want to share with you all the main truths I pulled from this chapter in Daniel.
Below you are three truths from Daniel 3 that can be yours when you find yourself walking through the fire.

1. God is with us in the fire

All of us will go through hardships and tribulations in our life that can be referred to as fires.  In 1 Peter trials are compared to the process of using fire to refine gold;
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
I probably don’t have to tell you that fires are not easy things to walk through.  Fires are often used as an instrument of death and destruction. But when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego were thrown into the fire they didn’t even get burned.  They were unharmed and unbound while they were in the fire and God’s very presence was with them.  With God, even something evil can be used for good!  That is the beauty of the gospel and our loving God.  God is with us during our dark days, just like he was with Shadrach Meshach and Abednego when they were in the fire.  Because God is with us, we can rest in him and find peace even during our darkest moments.  God is the one keeping us safe and protecting us from the flames.  God also promises to never leave us when we are in the fire.
Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord God is with you, He will not leave you or forsake you. (1 Chronicles 28:20)

2. We can thrive while in the fire

This truth is really hitting home with me today.  I can’t stop thinking about how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego were in the fire, unbound and unharmed.  Not a single trace of the fire was seen on them when they came out.  I can’t help but get this picture in my head of them laughing and having the best of times with Jesus while they are in the fire.  They just got thrown into a fiery furnace, the last thing they should be doing is rejoicing and having the best of times.
Did you know that we can have this same kind of joy during our fires too! That’s the amazing thing about the power God gives us through His Spirit.  When we go through our fires, we can rejoice.  Because God is with us, we won’t get burned.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, our time in the fire can lead to the sweetest fellowship with our Saviour Jesus Christ. Because of Christ in us, we can thrive even when in the middle of the darkest of circumstances.  I have seen this ring true in my life when I think back on the hard fires God has called me to walk through.  Even when my entire world was crashing down before my eyes, I had the strongest sense of peace and joy that was rooted in God.  God is not only with us, but He is the one who gives us all we need to thrive during the fire!
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:3-5)

3. God uses the fire to bring Himself glory

In the last part of this chapter, after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the furnace,  King Nebuchadnezzar is amazed and humbled.  He realizes that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the true God and begins praising God;
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. (Daniel 3:28)
After Nebuchadnezzar witnessed God’s glory he gave God praise for what had happened.  I think that an important thing for us to always remember when we are going through our fires is that people are always watching.  People want to see how we respond when we are faced with rough circumstances.  When we respond with joy and strength that can only come from God in the hardest of circumstances, it causes people to wonder.  Our fires and the way we thrive during them can be the most effective way to reach someone with the gospel because they will see that we truly do have something in us that is better than what the world offers; we have God’s Spirit living in us!
 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
God’s ways are not our ways and His plans are not our plans.  The way God chooses to bring glory to His name often is through the hard trials we must walk through.  But this can encourage us to keep on keeping on through the hard days because, in our weakness, He is made strong.  God’s glory is being made known through us and that is an amazing thing!
Whatever fire it is that the Lord has called you to walk through, I hope and pray that these three truths can encourage you and give you strength.  Be encouraged that God is always with you during your darkest days and He will give you everything you need to endure.  Because of the good God we have, you can rise up and thrive while in the fire.  God will give you His peace and joy that makes no sense to this world.  And when those who don’t know Christ watch you, your life will be a testimony of the gospel to them.
Keep on following Him, dear friend, even when He calls you to go through the fire.  And never let your heart forget, there is another in the fire with you; His name is Jesus.

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