The Fiery Furnace
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Is it just me, or does it seem to you that more and more people are being diagnosed with debilitating or life-threatening illnesses?
In the last year, I’ve had close friends diagnosed with breast cancer, melanoma, fibromyalgia, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Some have survived extreme medical treatments and are recovering; some are still battling for their lives; some have been healed. Affected friends struggle to keep their families intact and their lives balanced. They strive to maintain dignity and hope in circumstances that try to rob them of both.
The words, "Why, God?" passed my lips more than once, but God didn’t reveal any pat answers to me. God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His Word tells us that His plans give us a hope and a future.
King Nebuchadnezzar dictated that everyone in the land worship a 90-foot gold statue or be thrown into a blazing furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were young Jewish men who worshipped God and God alone. They would not worship the idol. Furious, the king ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. It was so hot that the raging fire consumed the men who bound them and threw them into the furnace.
Just before being thrown in, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego spoke to the king:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matt. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NKJV)
Sometimes we are not able to control our circumstances or our future. We know that this world and its woes are temporary for us. We know that nothing will happen to us that God won’t give us grace to walk through. We know that when we are too tired to go on, He will personally carry us with tender strength.
O God, we know that You are able to save us and rescue us. We are asking You to heal us for Your glory. But even if You don’t we will serve You and You alone. As we walk through this fire, conform us to You. Strengthen our bodies and our spirits and stay close to us in the darkness.
Excerpted with permission from Near to the Heart of God, by Terry Meeuwsen ©1998
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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