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“Look!” King Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, peering into the blazing furnace. “I see four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed! And the fourth looks like a son of the gods!”Daniel 3:25
The Babylonian king must have been utterly bewildered by this sight. After all, he had ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual – so scorching that the flames killed the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. By all accounts, the three young Jewish men should have instantly perished.
Yet there they were, calmly strolling through the inferno as if impervious to the heat. Even more shockingly, Nebuchadnezzar saw a fourth figure accompanying them, having mysteriously materialized out of thin air. The king surely wondered where this heavenly being had come from and how any human could survive such blistering temperatures.
But you and I know the true story – God was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the midst of their trial. When they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, even under threat of death, God did not abandon His faithful followers.
As the three men declared, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from [the furnace]” (Daniel 3:17).
And deliver them He did, in miraculous fashion. Not only did God spare their lives, He blessed them by His literal presence there in the fire. What’s more, He used their courageous stand – and His mighty hand of protection – to reveal His glory to Nebuchadnezzar and all his subjects (Daniel 3:28-29).
Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were never alone in that furnace, God promises His followers today that we are never alone in our hardships. When adversity strikes, He is right there with us, offering His comfort, guidance and supernatural help.
Here are three assurances we can cling to when walking through the proverbial fires of affliction:
God Knows Our Suffering
Too often when troubles come our way – a medical diagnosis, job loss, family crisis – we feel like God is distant and unaware. But Scripture says the Lord bottles every one of our tears (Psalm 56:8) and is acquainted with all our ways (Psalm 139:3). He may not stop the furnace’s heat, but He feels its flames.
God Cares About Our Wellbeing
While neighbors or even friends may abandon us in times of hardship, God remains tenderly invested in our welfare. He promises to meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19), work everything for our good (Romans 8:28) and give us true peace and contentment (Philippians 4:11-13). What comfort to know God cares!
God Can Redeem Our Hardship
Every trial we walk through, God promises to use for our growth (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5) and His glory (John 9:1-3). He specializes in bringing beauty from ashes, transforming crushing defeats into grace-filled victories (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Just ask Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego after the fire!
The key is keeping our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus amid affliction (Hebrews 12:2-3). As Corrie ten Boom said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” His living presence makes all the difference.
The next time you feel engulfed by the fires of suffering, remember you’re not alone. God is with you – to comfort, sustain and even redeem your hardship for good.
And if He can turn a fiery furnace into a sanctuary, He can certainly turn your distress into joy.