Walking Through the Fire
When we go through times of suffering, where is our faith? We pray and pray to the God who loves us, but He doesn’t always answer like we expect Him to. So when it gets quiet and there is no answer, where does our faith go? The Bible talks about the prayer of the righteous in the book of James, “the prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). In Matthew 7:7 Jesus talks about the effects of prayer, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. There are many more promises linked with prayer; this is not the only one. One aspect of prayer we often forget is that it is communication with the One who is always available to chat. He never puts us on hold.
Sometimes what we pray for doesn’t always line up with God’s will for our life. Think of it this way: if God answered every prayer that we ever prayed, then nothing would ever go wrong. But sometimes, we need that unanswered prayer in order for God to get us where He wants us to be. We just need to be faithful. For example, take a look at the book of Daniel. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were told they must bow down and worship the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar set up. If they did not, they would be thrown into a blazing fire. When it was time to bow down to this image, everyone but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bowed down. They had their own King to worship. When the King found out, he was furious. He ordered the blazing furnace to be turned up and wanted the three of them thrown into the fire! Before they were thrown into the fire, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sure to tell king Nebuchadnezzar that even if they were to perish in the fire they most certainly would not bow down and worship the golden image he had set up for himself. They prayed that their God would rescue them, but even if He didn’t, they would still serve Him!
Through this we can find three responses to faith:
- Confidence in God: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t lose their confidence in God just because King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill them in a blazing fire. They knew God could rescue them no matter what, and even if He didn’t, they would still continue to worship Him over the gold image King Nebuchadnezzar set up.
- Humble Submission: The three men ultimately had to submit to God and His plan for their lives. God knew what was going to happen, they did not. They had to trust that God had the best interest for their future.
- Determination to Follow No Matter What: Even though King Nebuchadnezzar was filled with anger and rage because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship his golden image, they still chose to worship God, not King Nebuchadnezzar out of fear. Even after the king continues to get angrier and demands the furnace is turned up even hotter, they still had a determination to follow the one true King.
Sure enough, the three faithful men are thrown into the fire! Soon after however, a guard shouts to King Nebuchadnezzar: “Didn’t we throw only three men into the fire? There are four men in the blazing furnace, walking in the fire, unsinged.” (Daniel 3:24-25). Not only were the men not touched by the fire, but God was walking in the fire with them! One thing we need to realize when we are going through pain and suffering is that we are not alone! Exodus 14:13-14 says: “Fear not! Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent.” The Lord will fight for you! You only have to be silent! This is exactly what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did! The Lord fought for them! They were pulled out of the fire completely unharmed.
See what having faith in prayer does? It can pull you out of the fire completely clean! Having faith in God is extremely important. To learn more about how to apply these three responses of faith to your life, as well as walking with God through the fire, check out PAG’s “Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering” sermon part 6 “He Will Deliver Us, But If Not…”.
Have faith in God!