“But I see four men loose, 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.” ~Daniel 3:25
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The familiar Bible story about the “three guys with weird names” was a staple in any elementary Sunday school curriculum.
It is always an exercise of introspection, rereading this story as an adult. My childhood preoccupation with the obscurity of their names has now shifted to the actual content of what these three brave men endured and the implications thereof.
The fiery furnace that “Shad, Meesh, and Benny” (as I shall call them) were thrown into is an inspiring story of courage, fortitude, and commitment to faith and calls to mind the powerful imagery of refining fire.
Having survived a severe case of anorexia in my teens, I spent hours of my recovery researching the process of refining gold by fire. I spent three months at an inpatient hospital, entering at 78 pounds, flirting with death, and completely pushing away God, family, and friends. I left treatment having fully committed my life to Christ, embracing recovery, and with zeal in my heart to discover God’s plan for my life.
Part of that discovery process included recognizing the shaping that season of darkness had played in God’s formation of my faith, heart, and soul.
In ancient times, the goldsmith would put the gold ore into a crucible and subject it to intense heat, liquifying the metal. Impurities would rise to the surface and be skimmed off. This process would be repeated until the goldsmith could see his reflection on the surface of the liquid. Then he knew it was pure gold.
What a powerful metaphor for Christian life, isn’t it?
Such a comforting truth to 18-year-old-me; after enduring an intense period of suﬀering, I felt God was using it to refine me. To break me of the sin and impurities in my life, namely the pride that had such a death grip on my life, led me to destructive behaviors that nearly cost me everything.
There is a true dependence on God that is only born through suﬀering. A moment-to-moment need for God develops when God is all you have left. Complete reliance on the Father is a life-altering, perspective-shifting foundation that becomes the cornerstone upon which the rest of your life is built.
I knew that without God, I am nothing. I have nothing. The 14 years I have been in recovery are only possible because of Him. I would have no recovery without Him. Shad, Meesh, and Benny — they knew that too.
Their story of bravery and courage reminds us that we are not alone in our suﬀering.
In seasons of trial, loss, despair, anger, and isolation — we may feel abandoned by God. We cannot see or touch Him.
This story reminds us that He is in the furnace with us.
At the end of the story, King Nebuchadnezzar says, “But I see four men loose, 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,” (Daniel 3:25).
He is with us in our suﬀering. He is supporting us, carrying us every step of the way.
We gain this beautiful perspective of dependence in the fire—knowledge of God’s faithfulness, steadfastness, and deliverance through suﬀering.
And anytime we need a reminder of that fact, we can look at the Cross.
Lent is coming to a close. Let us finish strong, knowing that, as Jesus is always with us in our suﬀering, we can unite ourselves to His in this season leading up to His Passion.
Father, please be with me in my suffering and help me unite it to Jesus’ cross. Amen.
Call to Action
Place a crucifix in a place where you can look at it frequently during your day to remind yourself to unite your sufferings to Jesus’ sufferings and know that He is with you.
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