Prayer is a spiritual discipline that most Christians are familiar with but most of us are frustrated with at times. Why don’t Christians pray more? We don’t know how. If you didn’t grow up in church, or even if you did, praying can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you grew up in a formal church where the pastor […]
If you read Daniel 3, you’ll discover an amazing real-life story of three men who courageously spoke truth to power even at the threat of their own lives. In a previous post I share four harmful ways we respond to trials in our lives. From the positive standpoint, what can we learn from the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
1. Your excellence gives you a platform to speak truth to power. Don’t walk past the fact that these three men spent the best years of their lives serving a ruler that had killed their families and enslaved their people. They probably didn’t agree with his policies nor his values nor even the direction he was taking the country. In spite of all that, they chose to honor God and serve with excellence, wherever they found themselves, and their excellence gave them the platform to even have an audience to speak before the king. How you excel at where you work, the dedication and excellence you put into your career, either builds or erodes a platform from which you can tell others about God.
2. Trials are not always a sign of God’s absence or punishment. That’s a popular lie that has permeated parts of Christianity today, that if God loves you he would never allow you to go through difficult times, and if you are, it must mean that you did something wrong or you don’t have enough faith. When they were threatened with literal fire, it wasn’t because they had done something wrong or because God had turned away and forgot to keep his hand on the wheel. God had bigger plans, plans that they weren’t party to.
Many times when we walk through the fire we immediately assume the worst. Is God punishing you? Is God absent? That’s where our minds will always go, but many times our trials are part of a bigger plan that we can’t see and it has nothing to do with punishment or abandonment.
3. Sometimes God will choose not to deliver us from the fire so that our testimony through the fire can showcase the glory of God. Right now in my daily personal Bible reading I’ve been going through the book of Job, another legend who went through suffering. God allowed Job to suffer, just like He allowed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to suffer so that through their suffering their testimony would showcase the glory of God.
That’s so important for us today. When things go wrong and when we go through the fire, we immediately reach out to God for help and relief. So what happens when that relief doesn’t come? What happens when the radiation doesn’t work on the cancer? What happens when the marriage isn’t restored or the prodigal doesn’t come home?
Sometimes life doesn’t have a happy ending, sometimes we don’t get to go riding off into the sunset, sometimes we don’t get to live happily ever after. Sometimes it’s through that pain, through that fire, that the world truly sees what faith in God looks like, not when things are going well for us, but when we’re standing in the midst of the fire.
4. Instead of asking God to remove us from the fire, start looking for Jesus with us in the fire. Whether God delivers you from the fire or not, and he delivered these three, instead of just asking for relief, start looking for Jesus. That’s the beauty behind the song we sang. There was another in the fire, standing next to me.
If you’re in the fire, if you’re walking through trials, know that Jesus is right there with you. Church, we are called to be the body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus. When you see someone walking through the fire, they will see Jesus with them when you choose to be the hands and feet of Jesus and willingly step into the fire with them. That’s why we have to do life together in community.
But know this, if you’re in the fire right now, Jesus is right there with you.