We recently sang a new song in church called Another in the Fire by Hillsong United which reminded me again of how close the Lord really is to us.
Based on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel chapter 3, the faith of these three men was tested by King Nebuchadnezzar as they chose to be thrown into a furnace rather than bow and bestow worship to an image. They knew there was only one true God and nothing or no one else was to be treated as divine or worthy of worship.
So into the fire they were pitched.
Ever feel like you’ve been pitched into the fire? In situations or circumstances where you’re getting overwhelmed and burnt up? Where there is no win-win resolution, only what seemed like a lose-lose one?
Sometimes we just can’t go around certain obstacles; we have to go through them. Illnesses, cancer, losses can be some of those difficulties where we pray and believe for miracles, yet we still have to walk through the process. We get pitched into the fiery furnace.
This is where we, like those three guys in the Old Testament, have our faith tested. This is where we truly find out what we believe in our heart of hearts. This is where all our words and sayings can fall to the ground in a puddle of tears as we face fears and trials like we never have before. This is where God reveals how close He is to us.
Immanuel — God with us. (Matt. 1:23) Jesus promised He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb.13:5). He promised He would always be with us, even to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:20). And there are definitely times when we feel like we are at the ends of the earth, deep in the fires of grief and pain, caught up in fears of the unknown.
It’s right here in this uncomfortable, dire, and agonizing place where we make that choice exactly like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. I remember making that choice four years after my father had died of colon cancer. It was in the afternoon, newly planted in a foreign country where I knew not their language nor their culture, and I was all alone in my bedroom ironing, talking to God. I slammed the iron down. The grief I had buried up till then came out as hot anger as I yelled at Him, “Why did you take my father?” Then with tears in my eyes Father God held me as I finally let go of needing to understand the “whys” and allowed the ache in my heart from missing my dad to be smothered under a blanket of unconditional love.
We have to choose to trust in God’s incredible love as we go through the fire. It’s not easy. It’s possible there may even be death or loss at the end. Those men didn’t know, but they knew His love. It never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)
King Nebuchadnezzar watched as those men were thrown into the fire then “he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ ‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’” (Dan. 3:24, 25)
There was another in the fire.
My dear reader, let this story of these tenacious men encourage you. God is so, so close to you. Choose to trust Him. When you can’t go over, under, or around those obstacles that come into your life and you just have to go through them, there will be another in the fire with you too. You are never alone.