If you are familiar with Old Testament Bible stories, you may know of the one about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace found in Daniel chapter three. These three government officers refused their king’s order to bow before a golden statue he had erected of himself standing ninety feet tall by nine feet wide. The men chose instead to obey two of the Ten Commandments God had given to their people the Israelite’s in Exodus 20:2-4. The first, we are to follow The One True God. The second, we are not to worship any idol. Therefore, in spite of the men’s honorable reputation and loyalty to the king, he carried out his decreed punishment: Their hands were bound with ropes, and they were thrown into a blazing furnace. Blazing so hot, in fact, the soldiers who threw them in were instantly incinerated. But then God intervened.
As the king looked into the furnace, he saw not only the three employees he threw into the flames, but a fourth man too. He glowed like bronze and seemed to be a god. Bible scholars believe him to be an angel sent to protect them, or Jesus, the Son of God Himself, who came to support them in their crisis. Whichever supernatural person came to their aide, the men were protected from the fire. Only the ropes on their hands burned off. When the king ordered them to walk out of the furnace, they did not even smell of smoke, let alone had been burned. A miracle, an extraordinary earthly experience that has no human explanation, had occurred.
Please do not respond to this story with the angry response: God has never rescued me from my furnace of suffering. Would you please focus with me on a different point? Look what happened to the ropes.
While we go through difficult experiences, we can be emotionally bound by lies of Satan. Lies like: “God doesn’t see your suffering. He doesn’t care if you are hurting. He has no power to change this, you must find a way through yourself. Better yet, take your own life and be free of it all.”
These “ropes” can be burned off by the Truth of God’s Word: I see you. (Genesis 16:13 ESV) I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3 ESV) It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. (Ephesians 2:10 TLB)
Once we choose to release the power of Satan’s lies, we can think more clearly of ways to find help to heal from our bad experiences. We can find the path to forgiveness that will set us free to live a more purposeful life.
Yes, we will have times of fire in our lives, but the experience need only burn away the lies we believe, leaving us with a mind and body that bears no permanent stink of what has befallen us.
Burn the ropes, not your body.