But If Not...
The king of Babylon commanded everyone to bow down and worship the golden statue, and had three Jewish men thrown in the furnace when they refused. These men bravely said, “our 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐦 𝐰𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐮𝐬 from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐟 𝐧𝐨𝐭, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
In the face of death, these men held onto truth without even the promise of deliverance. They knew God could save them, but had no assurance that in His divine wisdom He would.
At the king’s command, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬. I feel that way often. I’m guessing you do too.
They chose to trust God as they were literally thrown into a fiery furnace that had been heated up seven times hotter than normal. But the most amazing thing happened, as they walked around in flames, a 4th heavenly being was seen with them.
When everyone “gathered around, they saw that 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐬 of these men: not a hair of their heads was 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝, their robes were 𝐮𝐧𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝, and there was 𝐧𝐨 𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦.” In fact, the fire freed them from their bondage. Sometimes God delivers us from the trial, but sometimes He uses the experience of the trial to deliver us.
The king exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐦” and even went on to declare “𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐠𝐨𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬” (Daniel 3:27-29).
Mental illness puts a target on your back. With a mind bent toward despair, the enemy knows hopelessness is an easy temptation. Hopelessness threatens faith and can leave even a child of God searching for a way to escape the pain no matter the cost. But here’s the thing, even in the fiery furnace of depression, God is walking around with us. Perhaps He doesn’t rescue you from having to go through the experience of the flames, but He never leaves you during the trial. If our trust in Him is not dependent on our circumstances, others will undoubtedly glorify the Lord because of your witness. Even the king of Babylon declared that there was no other god besides our God who can deliver like He does.
And when you do come out of the furnace of affliction, know that even if the illness aspect remains - for we do live in fallen bodies - the enemy’s stronghold can be destroyed through Jesus. We can walk spiritually unharmed and without even a the smell of fire on us.
If you are in the fire today, don’t yield. Choose to trust in the character of God, His sure promises, and His unmatched wisdom. No matter what happens to us, we know that God is in control. He can prevent trials from happening, but even if He doesn’t, He is still good.