Earlier this summer, I shared few blog posts about what was happening with my family. At this time, it’s probably not wise to share some of the specifics of what’s been happening, only because this is still a very tender, fragile situation. If you’ve ever dealt with addiction issues, there’s already a level of out-of-controlness that goes along with this tragedy. So, rather than say too little or too much, just know that your prayers are still needed and very, very much appreciated. I trust that God is still working behind the scenes, but right now, the pain and heartache continue.
So, for the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about Isaiah 43:2 above. In God’s goodness, this is a verse was part of a message that I shared about Shadrach, Meschah and Abendego (Daniel 3) that I taught on over the weekend at the New Antioch Women’s Retreat in Maryland. In their story, these godly men took a stand for their faith and ended up in a firey furnace.
Where do you feel the heat of the fire in your life? One thing is for sure, when we feel the heat of the fire, we often feel that it’s going to kill us, right?! Perhaps you feel the heat of a financial crisis that you can’t get out of. Maybe you feel the heat of an uneasy employment situation because you aren’t sure about your job security. If you’re like me, you feel the intense hot heat of a personal crisis and you just want God to put out the fire so that you can feel relief.
Sometimes, however, God allows us to feel the heat so that we will turn to Him for help. In the retreat this weekend, I said this: God is our firefighter!
There are three lessons that I think about Isaiah 43:2:
1. God allows us to experience pain and pressure.
This is different than saying that God is the one who does bad things to us. Rather, we live in a sinful world where bad things happen to good people and sometimes, God does allow us to experience pain that frankly, doesn’t always feel fair.
2. Just because you are facing the fire today doesn’t mean that it’s your fault.
Read Daniel 3 and the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego. These guys loved God and served him, yet, their faith led to their fiery situation.
Don’t let judgmental people tell you that your hardship is as a result of something that you’ve done. We all face hardship and sometimes, there is no explanation for it.
Don’t beat yourself up. And even if you started the fire through bad financial decisions or an inappropriate relationship, hear this: God is still God. Turn to Him and give Him back control of your life so that He can lead you through the fire. There may be places where you’ve experienced self-inflicted pain, but God can take those places and give you purpose and redemption!
3. When you’re in the fire, stay calm!
What’s the first rule when someone catches on fire? Stop. Remember in school when they taught us to “stop, drop and roll” if our clothes caught on fire. Running away only spreads the fire, but when we stop, drop and roll, that’s how we smother it. When we feel the heat of the trials in our lives, we need to stop instead of running away from God. Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength.”
We turn toward God, pray and study His word. God will take care of us and fight the fire for us.