The fire. The heat. It’s unbearable. I’m not sure I can endure it.
Will it consume me? Will I survive? Will I come out on the other side intact? I can feel the fear welling up inside me. The uncertainty. The dread.
I know I’ve asked God to remove everything in me that’s not honoring to Him. But this fire! I’m afraid it will destroy me. I’ve never experienced anxiety like this before. Or fear.
I’m afraid of something I can’t name—no that’s not true; I’m scared of something I don’t want to name. Failure.
So I push through each day—putting one foot in front of the other—praying I don’t fall off some unseen edge. Somehow, I managed to be distracted enough to remain oblivious to the fact that I was driving myself into the ground.
Now I’m drowning in life’s To-Dos, trying to keep everything in balance. I’m striving to tame time, but it’s elusive, just beyond my grasp. I’m trying to meet the demands and satisfy the needs. I seek help in the mundane—nothing. And I’m trying to learn new things—struggling.
I’ve cried out to God. I’ve asked what is going on. I’ve begged for answers.
I feel hopeless. Lost. Lonely. And frustrated.
Can anyone relate?
“This is NOT me! This is NOT my norm.” I shriek, “Jesus! Help me before I lose my mind; before the waves pull me under forever! Before my strength gives out.”
“I’m here. I always have been But you were determined to do it on your own, so I let you. Now, Baby, go back to Daniel 3.”
“Lord, I know this story—we’ve been here before—dozens of times.”
“I know. But join these men in the blazing furnace. Then we will talk.”
“So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”” Daniel 3:23-25, NLT
Immediately I started breaking it down: What was happening? What details standout? What is the context? I started sketching it out…
- Neb has three men thrown in but saw four
- The fourth looked like a god.
- Because He was God.
- He was the pre-incarnate Christ.
- Now, let’s back up a bit—look at the context
- King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon created a 9-foot tall golden statue of himself and demanded everyone worship it, or he would throw them into the smelting fire (Google melting temp of gold=1,943°F)
- But these three men chose not to defile themselves before God by bowing to an idol, even after Neb personally gave them a second chance.
- Verse 19 says he was so angry with their defiance his face distorted with rage and he ordered the furnace heated to seven times hotter than its usual temperature.
- That’s 13,601 °F! No wonder the guards died from the radiant heat alone
- Ok, now let’s look …
“STOP! I told you to read it, and then we would talk. This is not the time to teach. This is time to be taught.”
Chagrined, I muttered my apology and invited the Spirit to speak to my heart.
“First, I was with those men in that furnace. And I am with you in yours. You’re not in this season alone. I’m right here beside you; guiding you through the fire and protecting you from the scorching flames.
“Look at the verses again. Remember, Neb had these guys savagely hog-tied before tossing them into the flames. And the flames burned away what once held them in bondage. However, nothing else was touched. You know the story. What happened next?”
“When they exited the furnace their clothes, body, and hair were not singed or damaged in any way. There was no soot, nothing. They didn’t even smell of smoke.”
“Because over the roar of the fire they confidently told Neb You were able to save them, and even if You didn’t, they still wouldn’t worship his gods or bow to his statue.” (Vs. 16-18)
“Do you trust me?”
“Do you believe me?”
“Yes. But I’m still afraid.”
“That’s ok, so were they. Baby, like their ropes, you have things holding you back; keeping you from full obedience to me. These things are distracting you and stealing your focus; they’re robbing you of your joy. We need to get rid of them before we move to the next stage.
“Finally, these men were walking around in the flames with me. They weren’t sitting or being lazy. They weren’t feeling sorry for themselves. They were moving with purpose.
“Baby, you haven’t stopped moving, and that’s part of the problem. You’re moving, moving, moving while giving little to no thought to the purpose behind the movements—on their and your effectiveness. You’re trying to be everybody’s everything, and you’re burning out. And the temptation to stop is getting stronger as is the temptation to feel sorry for yourself. Neither is in your best interest. For the former, momentum is harder to gain the second time than the first. In regards to the latter, that’s a sign of selfishness and pride—knock it off!
Trust me. Keep moving. Focus. I’m right here. You’re safe. This is for your benefit and My glory. Trust me.”
I do trust Him. And I know He’s right. So I’m asking for discernment on everything I need to let go of and the wisdom on how to do it. But I wonder if you’re feeling this too.
Are you also in a season of refinement?
It’s not a fun season, but God doesn’t refine us without reason or purpose. When He calls us to new things, we have to let old habits and thought patterns go. We have to release past hurts, resentments, and anger. We have to forgive and be willing to trust. We have to purge the toxicity and make room for what He has in store for us. You can bet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of those flames different, with an explosion of faith, and increased confidence in God’s ability to care for and deliver them.
Do you trust Him?