"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it...But if he doesn't..." (Daniel 3:17-18).
This is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible of preservation! The three Hebrews were thrown into the fire because they would not worship a heathen god. The king was astonished that first, the three men were not burned and second, that there was a fourth man in the fire with them. The fire had been heated purposely to destroy these men, so it was even more a miracle that they were preserved.
But the wonderful lesson is that God was right there with them. He is with us in our trials, too. He does not prevent sorrow, for we all have them, but He is with us when they do happen. He doesn't just send help but He comes Himself. He is afflicted in our afflictions (Isaiah 53:9, one of my favorite chapters as well as verses); He bore our griefs (Isaiah 53:4 and Matthew 8:17). Many times I pictured the Form of the Fourth on days that I thought I couldn't stand the pain of my sons death another minute, much less another day and month and year! I pictured Him as keeping the flames away, lifting me above them and finally out of them.
Our loving God has given us so many instances of deliverance from pain, either of the heart or of the body, that we cannot doubt His love to us. And we finally find out, after we have endured, that there are many fruits of our affliction that at the time we thought impossible. But all becomes HIMpossible as we kneel beside our suffering Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o'erclouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
Patricia Erwin Nordman