We all find ourselves in the fire at times.
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah found themselves in such a place. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had invaded Jerusalem and these 3 young men found themselves captive. And the commander assigned them new names. Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abed-nego (Dan. 1:1-7).
These young men decided to stay faithful to God, despite the culture they were thrust into. The king had set up a golden image of himself that was to be worshiped. Yet, they refused to obey the king’s orders.
The king, in his anger, had them brought before him. He reiterated that they were to worship the statue and if not, they would be thrown into the midst of the furnace. And, Nebuchadnezzar said, “what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Can you feel the tension? Their life is on the line. The king is threatening them with death. I absolutely love their response.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Dan. 3:16-18).
Focus on their reply…”But even if He does not…”
They knew God was able but they did not know what God’s will was. And they were willing to accept the fact that they might not come out alive. Why? How?
Because they trusted God. They knew that God was working behind the scenes for a much greater purpose and they were determined that regardless of what that meant for them, they were willing to be obedient and follow Him. Even into the midst of the fiery furnace.
Yes, He showed up. Their lives were saved from the fire but they still had to walk through it. Their experience proved to the Babylonian empire that there was a God (Dan. 3:24-30).
I don’t know what you might be facing today but are you willing to trust Him and face the fiery trial knowing He is able to save but that might not be the plan?
God always shows up and always comes through. We just have to remember that it isn’t always in the way we want, expect, or hope for. Just because he doesn’t deliver, heal, give, or promote does not mean He has forgotten you.
The fact is, He is concerned with everyone – not just us. We may be the catalyst for someone else’s life change. Our trial might be what’s driving change in the heart of another. God knows the beginning and the end…we just know the here and now. We make decisions, demands, and create expectations based only on what we know. We have to trust that His knowledge is superior. His love is exceeding. He promises are faithful.
If we can trust like that, then we can know that regardless of the outcome, He is working.