Tonight I am torn between two worlds. The one my feet are in is full of burdens and heartaches. There are sweet moments with family and friends but oh how I long for the world I really live in in my heart and soul. The one my soul is in is full of celebration and good cheer. My God doesn’t waste difficult circumstances. He makes hearts soften, turns them radically toward Him, proves His Word and glorifies His Name. When I focus on this, how can I not rejoice no matter what circumstances I find myself in?
Recently I was thinking about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel chapter 3). I had always remembered their story as one of God dramatically rescuing them from their trauma although they had boldly alleged their trust in God no matter what He chose to do for them! But God didn’t rescue them immediately. They first fell headlong into an intense fire that consumed the guards standing at the top. And we don’t really know if they had immediate assurance that they would be brought out of this fiery furnace quickly and restored to their “normal” life. We DO know that there was divine protection while they were IN the fire, and that they were aware of the presence of the very Son of God with them!
And that’s the promise we have. We will always have God’s divine presence in fiery trials when we have made Him our Lord. Whether or not we have deliverance before we end up in the midst of a trial is not the important thing for those of us who love God and devote ourselves to Him. His presence is precious and personal and gives us strength and that is the important thing. The joy of knowing His deeply intimate love in fiery trials is truly worth the suffering and heartache.
As Oswald Chamber says, “God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is not strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength…If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted, but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength.”