For You God, AnythingJuly 31, 2012 - 5:00 am
“Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!’ So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” — Daniel 3:26–27
In a dramatic scene in the book of Daniel, Daniel’s friends were put to the test. King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue and commanded everyone to bow down to it. A trouble-maker suggested that there were Jewish men who would refuse to do so.
So, the king called upon Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who predictably refused to bow down to the idol. Nebuchadnezzar was furious and threatened the men with their lives. Still, they remained adamant which only increased the king’s fury.
Finally, he commanded that the men be thrown into the furnace, and just for added agony, he decreed that the furnace be made seven times hotter than usual. The flames were so intense that the servants charged with placing the men in the fire were killed doing their job. Yet miraculously, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego remained completely unscathed. Not one hair singed.
Jewish tradition tells us that the three friends had the courage to face the fiery furnace because they were inspired by the frogs in the second plague that God brought against Egypt. They reasoned if the frog, in obedience to God’s will, could leave their cool, wet habitat and leap into the hot, dry ovens of Egypt, they would be obedient as well.
There is a beautiful story that went around the Internet about a young woman and her first rock climb. Half-way up, Brenda’s contact lens gets knocked out of her eye. She tries hard, but can’t find it. She climbs the rest of the mountain with blurry eyes. When she gets to the top, Brenda sends a heartfelt prayer to God: “Lord, you can see everything. You know every stone and leaf and you know where my lens is. Please help me find it.”
As Brenda makes her way down the mountain she can hardly believe it when she hears someone shouting, “Anyone lose a contact lens?” The man explains that he found the lens because an ant was climbing slowly in front of him carrying the lens on his back.
When Brenda arrives home she tells her cartoonist father her story. He draws an ant carrying a contact lens and adds the following caption: “Lord, I don’t know why you want me to carry this thing. It’s heavy and I can’t eat it. But if this is what You want me to do, then I’ll carry it for You.”
We can learn a thing or two from the ant, the frogs, and Daniel’s friends. Sometimes in life we are given a heavy burden to bear. It’s hard and we can’t always see the point. But we need to be strong and say, “For you God, I’ll carry this burden.” He might just carry yours too.