Dear friend, is your precious faith being tried by fire? Fires have many forms for us as young women. In the chaos of flames, clarity isn't my mind's foremost quality. However, Scripture promises "they that seek the Lord will understand all things." (Prov. 28:5) I'm so thankful that in faith-trying times, understanding and comfort too have come through a particular fire story of three young believers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their unbelievable rescue.
LovingtheLord.org's beloved Amy chose the title for this blog, understanding that each of the following areas reveal God's redemptive work in suffering. (*redemption - my favorite word in the English language.:))
Revealing Himself - "That I may know Him . . . in the fellowship of His sufferings"
Long ago I asked God to give me a special verse - a lifer! The response of heaven surprised me. Psalm 46:1 - He would be my Present Help, my Strength, and my Refuge. "I need all those?", I questioned. I had no idea how much! In life, every trouble and suffering (which could be renamed fire) comes with an amazing promise of Jesus: "When thou walkest through the fire, I will be with thee: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isaiah 43:2) His Presence is the secret place of His Spirit. It is more comfort than anything on the planet can offer. It is deeper than tremendous physical pain, broader than the shatters of a broken heart, stronger than persecution - a fire guard. It is safe from the enemy, free from any condemnation, and set apart from outside pressure. It is where our hearts learn of God. Trust is born there.
Imagine our three Old Testament friends getting to see the pre-birthed Messiah entering into their own fire.What would it have been like to host the presence of heaven and earth's Creator . . . there?! Astoundingly, beloved friend, He appears in our fires too! Oh how the revelation of Jesus brings grace! Much-needed grace!
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Pet. 1:7-9)
Purifying Us - "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8)
I used to fear suffering of every description. But I'm coming to see there is a blessing in it and learning, little by little, to cooperate with God's redeeming purposes. When fires heat up and the flames burn hotter, it causes hidden, unfelt or unconfessed sin to come to the surface, and reveals habits of thought.
Relentless ache reveals the true affections of our hearts. Rather than using my tongue to add to the fire of suffering (knowing that even a complaining tongue is set on fire of hell), I can use it instead in quick confession to the gentle Savior and experience the cool, cleansing water of the Word.
The Lord Jesus set a beautiful example of suffering well, suffering in a way that actually brought glory & joy. "Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 2:23) May I comfort you with something huge? In the fire of those three friends, the only thing that burnt is what bound them. They walked around in that fire free men! In Redemption’s love, fire is purifying, refining us for the life-expanding ministry God has in store.
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me." Psalm 138:7
Expanding Our Ministry - "for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." (1 Pet. 4:1b-2)
Through prolonged suffering our vision is taken beyond self-centered ambition to the vision God has for the advancement of His kingdom on earth, His will to be done. When we find God alone is the Source of joy, our hopes leaves the shiny glitters of earth for the Light of world. May our longing for the glory of God out-shine even our own longing for deliverance & personal rescue.
As soon as king Nebuchadnezzar laid eyes on Jesus in the fiery furnace, he called to the young men.
They stood in front of him no longer bound, not singed, not hurt.They didn't even smell like the fire.They'd just simply been with Jesus.The expanding effects were instantaneous. All three of the young believers were promoted but best of all God was praised and honored on a large scale for His supernatural deliverance of the servants who had trusted Him in the fire.
"There is no other God Who can rescue like this." (Dan. 3:29,30)
Praying for you as I sign off that knowing Christ in the LOVING REALITY of the secret place will hold you through your purifying times. It is the Lord's work to redeem suffering. He will redeem yours, as well, that Jesus may be glorified. And in that, you are most blessed!
"But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10