Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
Even though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…
Even though a host encamp against me…
OK, I am not keen on ANY of these circumstances befalling ANY of us.
And I am certainly opposed to being thrown into a fiery furnace – as were the Israelites, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, who told King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon:
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it…. but even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
Thankfully, these Even Though’s and Even If’s from the Bible are accompanied by Yet’s and Therefore’s.
God DID save the three Israelites and walked WITH them through the flames.
And as for toppling mountains and enemy encampments –
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear. (Psalm 46)
Your fiery furnace may be a stressful relationship, a bad boss, unending work, a bout with depression, a health crisis, a financial crisis, elderly parents, crying toddlers, a scary presentation, loneliness, panic attacks.
God walks with us.
In waiting rooms. At bedsides. On planes. At podiums.
A year and a half ago on a Sunday evening God was present in the waiting room of Glenbrook Hospital’s Cath Lab. My phone had died. I was alone. Only the squeaking wheels of the janitor’s cart could be heard. It was well past the anticipated hour mark of the life saving procedure taking place on the other side of the double doors. All I had was God. And it turns out that was enough.
Just as He walked beside the three Israelites, He sat in the waiting room with me.
Last week’s Community Bible Study lesson personalized 5 Bible verses and encouraged us to say them aloud. Which I’ve been doing.
My child, I planned for you before the creation of the world, before time itself began. I chose you to be Mine. I delight over you. I want you to know My love, to be quieted by it, to be rooted and grounded in it, so that you can truly experience the height, depth, width, and breadth of how I feel toward you. I have good things planned for us to do together. I will make them happen, and I will be with you every step of the way.
(Ephesians 1:4; Zephaniah 3:17; Ephesians 3:16-19; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5)
Especially in Furnaces.