A long time ago, in another place and another land. There lived a king. His name was King Nebuchadnezzar. He commanded that a large statue, made entirely of gold be constructed. Once it was finished, he commanded all the people to gather together. They were told that when they heard certain music play, they were to fall down and worship the image. Anyone who did not do that would be immediately thrown into a fiery furnace.
All the people did as they were commanded except for three young men who were Jews. They refused to worship anything or anyone that wasn't God.
Angered, the king commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (the three young men) be brought before him.
The king asked them if the charges against them were true. The three men not only admitted it but added:
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.King Nebuchadnezzar became even angrier. He commanded that the furnace be heated until it was much hotter than usual. Then he commanded that the strongest and mightiest men in the army throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into the firey furnace. The three faithful men were bound and thrown into the middle of the furnace while the king watched.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
Because of the heat from the furnace, the flames slew all of the men that had thrown Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into its mouth.
All of a sudden the king stood up.
“Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” he asked.
“True, O king,” replied his counselors.
Then the king said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Then he went near to the mouth of the furnace and called to the three Jews to come out. When they came, King Nebuchadnezzar could see that the fire hadn’t burnt them at all. Not a hair was singed, no clothing was scorched, not even the smell of smoke from the fire could be detected on them!
King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him.” (See Daniel 3)
I love this story. It teaches me many things, but perhaps one of the most important is that God does love His children. He knows their trials and difficulties and He cares for and loves each one. I am amazed at the strength of these three young men who were able to say that God could deliver them, but they were also able to say that if He did not they would never worship any other Gods. What a wonderful and faithful testimony on trusting our Heavenly Father. To me, it is another testimony of being able to say, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine".
I also love the fact that even when they were in the fiery furnace (most especially when they were in that furnace) they were not alone, for He walked and talked with them there. In my life I am very aware of my Heavenly Father's love for me. I feel His love in the tender mercies that so often surround me. I have felt His spirit in so many good things that have happened and continue to happen to me.
By contrast, I have also felt His love and been sustained in my trials and adversities. Some of my burdens have weighed me down in spite of my desire to endure. As a matter of fact, it is through the most difficult experiences in my life that I have come to have a greater dependance upon the Lord. It is in those trying times when I have felt an even richer outpouring of love and comfort from Him. It is during my greatest needs, in my own earthly furnace of despair, where I have come to feel a closeness to Him. I know that He is often carrying me along. I know that He comforts me and gives me courage and strength to go on. I know that I can trust Him to help me figure things out.
I know that I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, who loves me and I love Him.