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Faith And Miracles Part V: The Fiery Furnace

from the October 16, 2012 eNews issue

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is one of the most fun miracles in the Old Testament.  These three Hebrews stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the furnace for it. They obeyed God and remained faithful to Him, trusting that God could marvelously, miraculously save them.

They didn't know exactly what was going to happen, though. They knew that God could save them. They didn't know if He would.

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."  -Daniel 3:16-18

"But if not."  We are usually in that same boat. We believe that God can do anything. He can split the ocean and let escaping slaves walk through on dry land. He can provide money or food at the last moment to feed orphans. He can heal people from cancer and Alzheimer's and drug addiction. We know He can. We just don't know in our situation if He will. So, the question we asked at the beginning of this series remains... in what, exactly, are we supposed to have faith? That God will do something? We don't know that. Then what?

Depending On God's Love:
One of the biggest errors we make when we pray is that we really don't think that God WANTS to do what we ask. We have the idea that God wants us to go through this suffering for a reason. And perhaps He does. Maybe He's refining us through fire (1 Peter 1:6-7).  Maybe He is teaching us to depend on Him and not our own strength. Then again, maybe He is perfectly willing to do what we ask. The bottom line of our fear is that we do not really believe God loves us.

And yet, believing in HIS LOVE may be the very key to our faith. We believe God exists. We believe He is powerful. Do we truly believe He loves us? If yes, then we can believe that His will is excellent. Then we can believe He wants to do the most excellent things in our lives, no matter what those things are. 

Guess what!! God didn't let those young men perish! He protected them in the middle of the fire and they walked out unharmed and not even smelling of smoke!

Maybe... maybe God wants to do wonderful healing, protective things in our lives, but He's waiting until our understanding is correct.  God our Father loves us so deeply and selflessly that He gave His precious Son for us. He would never pay that price for us and then drop us.  When we pray, we need to pray with confidence in that love.

Example - Amy Joy:
On November 27, 2010, Amy Joy Hess (one of our writers) piled wood and paper on the burn pile behind her house on her 4.5 acres. She had been renovating her house, and she piled scraps of lumber along with bags of papers she wanted to get rid of. She set the pile on fire, and as the flames rose, she realized she had forgotten to pay attention to the wind. The cold November wind whisked up ashy, burning papers and blew them into the woods near the burn pile. "I am such an idiot," Amy Joy told herself. She knew better than to light a fire when the wind was blowing.

"Dear Lord," Amy Joy prayed fearfully, "Please don't let the woods catch on fire. Please don't let the woods catch on fire." She begged God, "Please calm down the wind. Please calm it down." Nothing changed. The wind continued to blow orange flames toward the trees. Dry leaves at the base of the fire ignited, reminding Amy Joy of the thousands of dry oak leaves in the woods.

"Wait," Amy Joy said to herself, "I'm not praying right." She quit her frightened begging and began to remind herself of the truth. "Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me," she told herself. "Jesus loves me." She felt her confidence in the love of God for her grow. The fear left. "Jesus cared about me," Amy Joy told us. "He didn't want my woods to burn down. I knew He would keep me safe."

Then, full of confidence in God's love, Amy Joy spoke to the fire and wind, and she said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, calm down."

The change was immediate. "Instantly, the fire just 'whoosh!' went from lion-mode to kitten mode," Amy Joy said. "It didn't simply calm. It was like a giant hand pressed down, and it actually puffed out the sides. The flames relaxed, and there was no wind, and the fire became as docile as you could want. There was a soft blue flame in the middle of glowing red. I was like, 'WOW! Let's try that again!'"

Later on, when a few gusts of wind came through, Amy Joy grew worried again. "But, then I remembered that God was taking care of things, and I knew I was safe." The fire eventually burned out, and Amy Joy swears she will check for wind before lighting fires in the future.

When we pray, we need to rest in the belief that God desires to do wonderful things in our lives, and we need to trust in the work He is doing in us.  Everyday need to we say, "Lord, we are Yours. Thank you so much for loving us. Please keep us in the cross hairs of Your will today, because we know Your will is good."

That's praying in Faith.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." -Ephesians 2:4-7


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