The Fire

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

The fire is the situation or circumstance in your life that promises to overtake you, consuming you in its flames. We’ve all been through the fire in our personal lives in various situations. You know, when the stress of your situation seems so overwhelming that you can’t sleep at night. Your stomach is in constant knots, and your heart rate palpitates erratically at any given time.

The fire is stressfully uncomfortable. The fire is hot and pressure-filled and going through it can feel like a slow, never-ending torture. Our natural inclination is to avoid the fire at all costs.  We often think that when we go through the fire, we did something wrong.  And sometimes that is the case. Sometimes the situation we’re in is nothing less than the consequence for a poor decision we made. But sometimes, like Job, the fire sneaks up on us like a lion about the devour its prey. It stealthily envelops us despite our innocence.

In either case, fire can be refining. Like pouring alcohol into an open wound, the fire, too, refines and purifies. It takes our spirit to the place where we seek God and experience the peace that only He can provide.

But the Bible promises us 2 things when we are in the midst of the fire:  1. He is with us.  2. He will bring us through.

The Book of Daniel talks about 3 men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who also went through the fire—literally! King Nebuchadnezzar had built a gold idol ninety feet high and commanded everyone to bow before it any time they hear music. Three Jews— Meshach, and Abednego—refused to worship the idol and as punishment, were thrown into a fiery furnace.

19Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, O king.”

25He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

If He wanted, God could have easily prevented them from being thrown in the fire. But rather than preventing it, He allowed them to go through it. My favorite part is that He not only sustained them, but He was with them. And I love how when they were released from the furnance, not only were their bodies and clothes unharmed but they didn’t even smell of smoke.

Wow. Only our God could do that. Now the question is do you believe He can do that for your life? Do you believe you, too, can come out of your “fire” unscathed, even to the point where the circumstance does not even linger on your life in the smallest way?

Miracles always begin with faith and obedience. Before they were thrown into the furnace, look at the attitude of the three men:

14and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

They believed that God could rescue them, but they also acknowledged that even if He, in His Divine Will, chose not to help them, that He was still the one and true God.

Although God is infinitely able, He may not rescue you the way you’d prefer. I’ve also been disappointed that God has allowed me to go through certain circumstances in my life. But if it weren’t for those circumstances, neither would I have seen His Hand working in my life. I wouldn’t have seen His Hand of Providence providing for my every need at the right time…His time, not mine…

Challenge yourself to see the “fires” of your life differently. View them, not as punishment, but as refinement…as purification. Because that is what He does with all of us…remaking us into His own image.

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