November 18, 2020
“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
We’ve been discussing God’s miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and how God met the three men within the fiery furnace rather than just pulling them out of it. And as we discussed in Sunday’s message, it is the same with us: God often chooses to come to us in the midst of the “fires” of our own lives rather than simply pluck us out from them. It is another beautiful picture of God’s deep love: He is willing to come to us rather than make us somehow earn our way to Him.
What’s most interesting to me, though, is exactly how God chooses to come and walk with us. It’s almost never what I expect, nor is it ever as spectacular as Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. Jesus promised “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20), but it’s not like I sense Him standing right by my side all the time. In fact, in the normal fires and doubts of my own life, more often than not I’m wondering where the heck God is! And why hasn’t He “rescued” me yet?
But through many years of life, I’ve come to understand one big way God walks with us through the fires: He sends someone to walk beside us. How many times has someone been there in my distress? My brother who found me panicked and lost in the forest. My friend’s unexpected, comforting hand on my shoulder while I wept. Another friend’s words of solace during a strained relationship. And so, so many more!
How has it been in your life? How has God come to you in your own times of fire? What friends, loved ones or even strangers has God brought during your distress? And perhaps more importantly, how might God use you today to walk alongside another who is struggling through their own fires of life?