All of us at some point or another in life will experience seasons in our life in which we feel like we are being thrown into the fire. I’m sure you have heard the expression, “From the frying pan to the fire.” Sometimes in life, we face difficult challenges and crises that cause us to feel like we have gone from the frying pan; an already difficult situation, to a crisis that is so overwhelming that it feels as if we have been thrown directly into the fire. Perhaps as you read this, you are experiencing one of those times in your life. If so, I have good news for you. You can make it through the fire! On top of that, you don’t have to go through the fire alone! There is someone who will go into the fire with you and bring you safely through it if you will allow him to. That someone is none other than God. We cannot expect to make it through all of the struggles and seemingly insurmountable problems that life will throw our way without help from God. It is during the lowest points in our life, and during the times that we are encountering the most grievous trials of our life, that we had better make sure that we are connected to God, our rock. I remember as a child a beautiful song my Mother used to sing at funerals of loved ones that had passed away. While family members that were grieving the loss of their loved one sat overwhelmed with a blanket of sadness and despair, my mother would sing a song that was called In Times Like These. The song said, “In times like these, you need an anchor. In times like these, you need a savior. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds, and grips the solid rock.” What a powerful and true message that song brought forth! When you are going through a fiery trial, you had better be sure you are connected to the solid rock.
All of us will face fiery trials from time to time in our lives. In the Bible, the Apostle Peter spoke about fiery trials that we would occasionally have to face. Take a look at what Peter says about fiery trials in chapter four of the book of First Peter in the Bible. Peter said, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” (1st Peter 4:12-13 New Living Translation) What Peter is saying here is that when we go through periods in our lives in which the intense struggles that we face make us feel like we have been thrown into the fire, we should be happy. Why on earth should a person be happy about facing problems in their life? I’ll tell you why…when we face major problems and crises in our lives, it gives God an opportunity to show up on the scene and to work out our situation, show himself to be God, and bring glory to himself. This is what Peter meant when he said…”you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory revealed to all the world.”
During the times in your life that you are experiencing the fiery trials that the Apostle Peter spoke of, the absolute most important thing is that you continue to trust God, and do not back down or compromise what you believe and know God is able to do. He can bring you through the fire safely to the other side if you will simply continue to trust him. One of the great stories in the Bible that tells of God’s ability to deliver those who trust him from the fire is found in the book of Daniel. It’s a story that those of you who have been in church all of your lives have heard many times throughout the years. In the third chapter of the book of Daniel, you can read about a time when a king named Nebuchadnezzar created an enormous golden statue in ancient Babylon. According to biblical accounts, this thing was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide! WOW! After Nebuchadnezzar created this golden monster, he called together all of his high officers, governors, and dignitaries, and ordered that everyone throughout the entire land must bow down to worship the golden statue that he had created. The penalty for refusing to bow down to worship this golden idol would be a sentence of death by being thrown into a fiery furnace. After a period of time, word got back to King Nebuchadnezzar that there were three Jewish men in the land named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that were God fearing men that refused to worship anything or anyone other than the one true God, the creator of Heaven and Earth. This made Nebuchadnezzar furious, and he immediately ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him to be charged. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego arrived to stand before Nebuchadnezzar, the king said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made, but if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” Then, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Listen Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God that we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden statue, Nebuchadnezzar’s anger went through the roof! He immediately commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual! Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So,Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the furnace, fully dressed. Because the king had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in! Soon after throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the blazing furnace, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up and shouted to his advisers, ” Hey, wait a minute! Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace? I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed, and the fourth looks like the Son of God!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,come out! Come here!” Immediately Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then all of Nebuchadnezzar’s officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! When Nebuchadnezzar realized what an incredible miracle had just taken place, he said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” He then issued a decree that if any people, whatever their race or nation or language, were to speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they would be torn limb from limb, and their houses would be turned into heaps of rubble!
What an incredible and amazing story of God’s ability to deliver those who trust him from the fiery trials that they are faced with! Even knowing that they were facing being thrown into the furnace, these three men refused to compromise or lay aside their unshakable faith in God to deliver them! The great news that should be of encouragement to us is that the same “Son of God”, which was none other than Jesus himself, that Nebuchadnezzar saw walking with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is still the same God today, and He is still able to deliver us from every fiery trial that we will ever face in life! We simply have to refuse to back down on our faith in God, and trust him no matter how hot the fiery trials we face seem to get. Just as in the story of the three men and the furnace, we must realize that when God allows us to go through tests and trials, He will not only eventually deliver us from them, but when we come out of the crisis or rough place in life that we are facing, we will come out not even appearing as if we had been through the fire at all! We will come out not even smelling of smoke so to speak! God allows these trials and tests in life not only to give Him the opportunity to perform a miracle in our life so that He would be glorified; but God allows trials so that when we come through them we would be strengthened in our faith!
When miners mine gold, before it can be sold commercially for use, it has to be purified. One of the most common ways that gold is purified is that it is placed in fire and exposed to extremely high temperatures. When the gold is exposed to intense heat, all of the impurities and substances that degrade the value of the gold are burned away, leaving behind nothing but the purest of gold. The Apostle Paul alluded to this process in the Bible when he said, “ These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.“ (1st Peter 1:7 New Living Translation) When you come through the fiery trial that you are facing, you will be better, stronger, and a more valuable version of yourself!
God gave us an incredible promise in the Bible in Isaiah 43:2. In this passage God said, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (New Living Translation)
Are you going through a rough time in your life, or a major crisis that makes you feel as if your whole world has been placed in a fiery furnace? If so, don’t lose hope! If you will simply commit yourself to God and trust Him, and know that He is in control of every situation in your life, you will soon experience an encounter with God himself in the midst of your fire! He loves you and is well aware of what you are facing, and whether you realize it or not, He walks in the fire with you, and will soon deliver you from the furnace of whatever you are facing. You will make it through your fire, and guess what…when you do, you won’t even smell like smoke!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,