Today, we have a special guest post! If you receive my monthly newsletter, you saw that my friend Silas was the featured writer-of-the-month. For those of you who don't get my newsletter, I thought I'd share his inspirational article with you!
Firewalk With God
“‟But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning, fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?‟ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ,O, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.‟” (Daniel 3:15b-18).
When we as Christians must suffer through the inevitable trials and afflictions of this life, it is our duty to rejoice and genuinely thank God for the opportunities brought about by those trials. We must rejoice since suffering results in growth, the Bible commands us to endure hardships with joy, and when compared to our eventual, eternal glorification, our sufferings really are quite insignificant and petty.
The first reason to rejoice is the fact that affliction leads to growth. James 1:2-3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” As the blacksmith applies just enough heat to temper and therefore strengthen a length of steel to make it useful, so the Lord uses trials in our lives to strengthen us as vessels for His glorification. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” -- Romans 8:28.
Secondly, Christians are commanded to suffer hardships and stand strong when the day of adversity arrives. 2 Timothy 2:3 says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Of course, if we are to endure these hardships with joy, and not simply with an attitude of tolerance, we must learn to lean on our omnipresent and omniscient Father. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22). “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19). No matter how severe or how much pain you’re going through, our God promises to take away your burden if you simply allow Him to. Sometimes, we have the tendency to revel in our own misery, in which case the endurance of hardships will be shallow and self-centered in nature, which is not in accordance with God’s will. We must not pray for deliverance from our trials, but for wisdom.
“No one entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4). Thirdly, and most importantly, this life on earth is not our own. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we’re not here for personal comfort or satisfaction. Our beautiful purpose in life is to constantly bring glory to the name of God. When viewed in this light, and under the shadow of the cross, how truly insignificant are our own trivial sufferings and complaints! “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ‟s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. …if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, 16).
Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego faced their fiery trial knowing they would either be saved from the furnace or saved into eternal Glory; we too should face our trials with courage and such confidence in our life’s purpose that in so doing, we joyfully fulfill that very function and bring glory to the King of kings through our affliction.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.
Thank you, Silas, for your inspirational article!