As I sat by the fire last night, enjoying the incredible evening our Lord had provided for us, I couldn't help but stare at the blaze coming from the wood. There is something so mesmerizing about fire. It seems to draw us to it, an alluring feature. I watched the fire, and many thoughts came to mind. I thought about the many times I was tempted to do something wrong, how I had taken the wrong path - away from God.
My thoughts then strayed to others who had gone into a fiery pit - yet it was under very different circumstances. I am sure many of you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I am going to shorten the story quite a bit, but please feel free to refer to Daniel, chapters 2-3. The king of the day, King Nebuchadnezzar, had created an image from gold for everyone in Babylon to worship. Well, our three friends, being faithful servants of God, refused to worship anyone but our Lord. So Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace. He even had the "heat turned up", ensuring that they would burn to death. The guards that were in charge of ensuring Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's eventual death died from the heat of the furnace, it was that hot. Yet, God's three servants were spared - God walking with them through the fire. They didn't doubt God's power over the fire - they knew He would save them. He did save them. They chose God and God didn't let them down.
As the fire in front of me heightened with its heat last night, I likened the experience of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to my walk down a wrong path. I remembered my walk into a fire as a walk full of danger and despair. Although they did it to glorify God, my walk in the fire didn't seem that way. Yet, as God delivered them, I remembered how God delivered me from the path I was on, time and time again. He brought me through the fire into safety, into His world of grace, forgiveness and love. Even though I have felt the "heat turned up" in tough situations, I have walked through the fire into God's loving arms.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego entered the fire in God's name, knowing that they would be protected. Yes, I may have made wrong choices, wrong decisions. I didn't enter those decisions and choices in God's name, yet, I do know that He will always protect me. The good news is that I continue to learn from my mistakes (at least I try). The BEST news is that I know God is there for me, to show me his grace will always be with me. I smile, as I can imagine God saying to me "Susan, I will always be with you through the fire of mistakes and wrong choices - for I love you - unconditionally."
Faith doesn't have to be complicated. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a simple faith - one that saw them through a fiery furnace. I have a simple faith, one that knows that God will always be with me. How about you? Do you believe God has seen you through a hot & fiery walk through fire? Has He graced you with his mercy and love? I'm sure there has been one time when you have felt His loving hand on your shoulder - guiding your walk through the fire into His loving arms. Remember those times, and let's give thanks to our God for being there to rescue us. Here's to less walks into the fire due to wrong choices, and more walks into the fire for God's praises! May you have a blessed week ahead.
"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." (NIV) Daniel 3:28