In June of 2016 I sat in my car outside a video store praying fervently to the Lord. I was begging for Him to give me a child. Not just any child; my child. The one that just a week before had been growing and thriving inside of me. “Please, Lord” I whispered “let this one be okay. Let us have this one, please make the bleeding stop, keep the heart beating and let this baby grow.” I stayed in my car with my head bowed, pleading for that little life, tears dripping off my chin for about another ten minutes. I took a few breaths and began to try to put myself back together. I was wiping my face when a startling thought popped into my head, ‘but what if He doesn’t?’
What if He doesn’t? What would I do then? I remembered a story from Daniel about three individuals who were facing the same question. They, however, had an amazing answer. In the third chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a golden statue. He was very proud of this and required that every individual must bow before this image. Now, there were three young Jew’s, they knew the commandments of God forbid this and they refused. Nebuchadnezzar was not happy about that and told them that they would be cast into a furnace.
A furnace. This wasn’t a simple time out or jail time or a slap on the wrist. This was death and not a peaceful one at that! This was being tossed into hot, scalding, burning, flesh searing flames and suffering until the very end. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were facing a horrifying life or death situation. But that didn’t deter them. They had faith that their Lord would indeed step in and save them. That He would redeem them and bring them out of the situation. But what if He didn’t? What if the Lord didn’t intervene and spare their lives?
Daniel 3:18 provides that answer, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the image you set up”. In essence; absolutely nothing will change. They would walk into that furnace facing certain death, and even if God did not intervene, they would not falter or be shaken. So where did that leave me? What if God didn’t intervene and what if I did lose the pregnancy?
If God didn’t step in then I would be forced to walk into that furnace. I would be forced to face the biting, stinging, painful flames of grief and loss. But I wouldn’t be alone! God says in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you”.
If God didn’t step in then I would be changed. Those flames would alter little pieces of me and those pieces would never be the same again. But God would still be the same! Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. He would be as good, and just and loving as He was before the fire. His heart towards me would be no different than it was before!
If God didn’t step in then I might break. I worried that the fire would be too much for me to overcome. I worried that I wasn’t strong enough to endure the overwhelming, seemingly unending and devastating flames. But God would be there in my weakness! It would be through my weakness that God’s power would be the most evident. In 2nd Corinthians 12 the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.
God didn’t stop King Nebuchadnezzar from throwing the three Jew’s into the furnace. In fact he was so angered by their response that he demanded the furnace temperature be increased even higher! He tied them up and had them thrown directly into the flames. When the king peered into the furnace though he realized that there were no longer three men but four. There in the midst of the flames, in the furnace hot enough to kill the attendants, who threw the three men in, was the Lord! They emerged from the flames unscathed, not a hair singed or the smell of soot on their clothes.
I prayed, I trusted and I waited. But God didn’t intervene. Just like with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego God had allowed me to be flung into the furnace. For the second time in within just a few short months I had to say goodbye to another baby that I hardly knew but loved fiercely. I was deep within the flames. But I knew with every part of my being, that I was not alone in them. That the Lord was there with me, even when I couldn’t see him through the smoke and when the flames seemed to consume me, He was there.
There will be many times in all of our lives that we will face the furnace. We will stand at the door of situations that we don’t want to be in. We will feel the heat rising up to singe our skin. The flames may look insurmountable and terrifying. With fear and worry coursing through us we will call out to God to help us, in our faith we will look to Him who we trust. Sometimes He will close the door on that trial before we even have to enter. Sometimes we will have to go into that furnace. But if we do, remember who is in those flames with you.
Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that you are there through every circumstance with us. You have said that you will never leave us or forsake us. Please let us be reminded that no matter how difficult our situation may be that you are nearby. Help us to remember to lean on your during difficult times and continue to find moments to praise you even in the fire.