by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
I have always been fascinated by the biblical accounts of Daniel’s life. His steadfast faith and devotion to God has inspire, guided, and challenged me. Chapter 3 is my particular favorite, especially the spectacular ending where Daniel and his buddies are thrown into the furnace, yet walked out calm, cool, and collected after facing the greatest test of their character and faith. I dare not add or detract from scripture, yet part of me likes to imagine the scene with the guys all high fives, fist bumps, and the fourth man giving them a congratulatory smack on the rear as they exited.
The fiery furnace metaphor is my self-evaluation tool when I believe God has allowed a person or situation to refine my character by cranking up the heat in my life. However, my furnace exits are not typically graceful. Sometimes I visualize myself crawling out of the furnace, hair on fire, and the fourth man can’t high five or fist bump because he’s having to hold the fire extinguisher. Other times I stumble out, singed, smelling like smoke, and I didn’t even notice the presence of the fourth man because I was frantically searching for an exit sign. When the smoke clears, how can we walk out of the fire confident, victorious, and more Christ-like?
In every furnace scenario God efficiently plans for growth, provision, and a divine opportunity to draw closer to Jesus, who is always with us in the flames. Sure, at times we start our own fires and God allows us to endure the consequence of extinguishing them, but just as often God brings the fire to those who are faithfully serving, living lives fully honoring Him. The “Daniel difference” in any circumstance is a determination to have a teachable heart, obediently submit to the work, and expect to experience a new level of faith and stronger character throughout the process.
God’s word provides us with trusted instruction from spiritual giants who have successfully walked through their own fires. If, like me, you are continually challenged and in need of Godly advice, study Daniel; he’ll show you how to stand against temptation and compromise to live a life of integrity. Are you backed into a corner, afraid, or in a royal mess? Consult Esther, she’ll teach you about courage, tact, and timing. Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Sit for a while at the feet of Jesus and discover what it means to truly find healing rest in Him. Have you messed up completely, or acted out impulsively? Turn to Peter, who’s been there, and reminds us that, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a Godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3).
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal