“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had no idea whether they would come out of that furnace alive or not (Daniel 3). This was literally a trial by fire. Tony Evans once wrote, “either you are in a trial now, you’ve just come out of a trial, or you’re getting ready to go into a trial.” Trials are inevitable, but not forever. The Bible teaches that we can and must flee the flames of trial and temptation; and then there comes a time when it appears the only way out of the fire is through it. Authentic faith is more precious than gold, and in the furnace, the fire tests just how genuine our faith really is. No matter the degree or duration of the trial, we will not be overtaken and destroyed if we have indeed placed our faith in Christ. It might feel that way at times, but that is never our loving Father’s intention. If necessary (v. 6), we are carried deeper into the fire by hands of sovereign grace and refined; burning away what one hymn writer called the “dross (impurities; worthless rubbish).” Then he draws to the surface the pure, concentrated gold of faith in our lives. An example of this process unfolds before us as we read how these three Hebrew men, full of faith and courage, faced their own crisis of belief. Each and every moment of pain, suffering, loss, rejection, attack, slander, persecution, loneliness – all these and more, are used by the Father to do a refining, purifying work in them and us, according to His design and for His purposes.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego may not have planned on going to the furnace that day, but they were definitely prepared – through their unwavering faith and hope in Yahweh. I’m sure they walked out even stronger than when they went in, and the same can be true for us as well. Faith must be pursued, taken up and secured before we face the flames. This is one of the primary reasons we pursue the daily practices of reading the Word and prayer, so that we are prepared, informed and ready to pass through the furnace with confidence in Christ and filled with the stamina to persevere. Each day, we move one step closer to becoming pure, shining displays of His power, grace, and glory, through every fiery furnace we face.
Pastor of Worship