The Fourth Man in the Fire

In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire, the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life. (Proverbs 17:3) #EyesonthePrize

The end of the school year and the flurry of end-of-year celebrations and graduations take me right back to my college days. This time of year acts as a trigger, and I am instantly transported in time to my own final days of testing and thesis writing. The first sensation is fear, quickly followed by exhaustion. Those pivotal moments of “make or break” have lasted a life time for me. Do you still have that recurring dream where you signed up for a class, didn’t attend all semester, and suddenly you are taking the final? Or you dream that it is Monday afternoon and you haven’t been to your Monday morning class for weeks because you forgot what you registered for at the beginning of the semester? I think these dreams last for decades because the fear of failure is so deep and so strong, we can’t shake it….even for a lifetime.

Maybe those lingering test anxieties are preparation for the larger tests and trials we will face. Having once faced the Finals Lion and defeated him is good practice for when the (insert your trial here) Lion suddenly grows into a Game of Thrones-like fire breathing Dragon that can take out entire cities with one breath. You know those Dragons: cancer, divorce, rejection, death of a loved one, house foreclosure, addiction, infidelity, raising a teenager…all those life points that are gruesome, impossible, and potentially incendiary.

As you face your fire breathing dragon, did you ever stop to think that you are being made stronger for having done the battle? In the midst of having your eyebrows singed off, (like when your teenager gets arrested and blames you. Or your wife admits an affair. Or your college age daughter is diagnosed with cancer. Or your husband dies of a brain tumor. Or you discover your spouse has been lying for months and hasn’t paid the mortgage. Or…..) can you see that at the end of this, you will arise from your ashes and be more in the image of God? Yeah, me neither.

In moments of fierce and fiery battles, only the promises of God can help us see daylight. When we are beaten down, only the hope of something better at the end of the trial can give us the courage to keep at it. If we lose this hope, there will be nothing but scorched earth around us. That is why it is PARAMOUNT to continue to come into God’s presence in the fire…he is the only way out.

Remember the story of three faithful guys who refused to bow to a Babylonian king? They were thrown into the fire to beat all fires, and look what happened:

King Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cut off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?”

“That’s right, O king,” they said.

“But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!”

Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.

All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them! (Daniel 3:19-26)

So take heart. You are not alone in your fire. The fourth man, the son of God, is right in there with you. Jesus never promised that there wouldn’t be tests, trials and temptations, but he did promise that he would be in the fire with you. And when you emerge, you won’t carry even the smell of it upon your skin. You will be beauty for ashes. Rise up!

One comment

  1. Margaret Brushwood · May 22, 2019

    What a Great word Betsy❣️
    Thank You 🙏🏼


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