“Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire? Yes, of course, your majesty, they replied to the king. He exclaimed, Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like the son of the gods.” Daniel 3:24-25
I will never forget the day so much changed for our family. One email and we immediately felt like we had been thrown into the fiery furnace. The sad part was I was bound but unaware. Fast forward a few years down the road and on the same day, more heat was turned up, 7 times hotter. This time the Lord showed me what had me bound. He graciously freed me from those ties and I now walk in freedom, while in the midst of the fire. Like the three men who were thrown into the fire, they had no idea if God would save them and if He did, how long would the furnace time last. But their statement to the king gives me much needed strength, especially today. “If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).
These men refused to bow and worship, as was commanded, to a gold statue. I may not have a “ninety feet high and nine feet wide” (vs. 1) statue, but I sure was giving my worship to created things. What consumed my thoughts became what I worshiped and I was soon bound. It is amazing how tight those ties can become. However, my time in the furnace has been heart opening. There has been much repentance, confession, conviction, heartbreak and weakness. There has also been the peace, love, joy and strength that comes in surrender with freedom at its heals.
There is this beautiful song called Another in Fire by Hillsong. I could have written every word. “All my debt left for dead beneath the waters. I am no longer a slave to my sin anymore. And should I fall in the space between, what remains of me and this reckoning, either way I wouldn’t bow to the things of this world, and I know I will never be alone.” Beautiful, isn’t? When we are made new by the acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are no longer bound by sin. Do we still sin? Yes, we are not home yet. However, our sin has been paid for. Seems like I was determined to tie myself up when Jesus died to set me free. Fire quickly reduces, refines and burns that which does not look like Christ. Praise God!
So, even though there is no end in sight and no help to be found, we walk free in the fire. We are very aware that we are not alone. The song also has these encouraging words for us. “There’s a grace when the heart is under fire. Another way when the walls are closing in, and when I look at the space between where I used to be and this reckoning, I know I will never be alone. There was another in the fire, standing next to me. There was another in the waters, holding back the sea. And should I ever need reminding, of how I’ve been set free, there is a cross that bears the burden, where another died for me. There is another in the fire.” Goodness, how I need that grace today!
Some months ago a house down the street went up in flames. It was the biggest fire I have ever seen. We heard painters lit a cigarette while using varnish. The windows exploded and brick flew off. It was powerful. The house was completely destroyed, burnt to the ground. However, in the midst of the ashes, a glorious sight was caught by one of our neighbors. She took a photo of the only thing that remained, a metal cross. This was not a decoration, but must have been building materials. I keep this image in my mind and a prayer in my heart. When the day comes when we are taken out of the fire, may all that remain be Christ. Him and Him alone. What a glorious day that will be!
*Photo credit: Johanna Gabrielle Barron