Today I Saw God
Ready for the Fire
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:2. It reads, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
I found this verse when I was in high school and my best friend was going through a hard time. She was struggling with an eating disorder and a desire to end her life. I was terrified for my friend. She was not a Christian, but I was and had learned that turning to scripture always managed to provide encouragement, peace and hope when I was feeling afraid, discouraged, anxious or lost. I wrote the verse from Isaiah on an index card and gave it to her. That same scripture would re-emerge in my life when I found myself walking through fire.
Ginny Owens sings, "If You Want Me To." It is a song of surrender to God's sovereignty in our lives, a song that has helped me remember to let go when I most wanted to hold on. A line in the song says, "So I will walk through the fire, if you want me to." We all have fire that we walk through; storms of life that we fear may consume us. Some of these fires are self-inflicted. Others are a result of the fallen world in which we live. And, some are a result of another's decision that impacts us.
Whatever it is, God promises and has fulfilled his promise to always walk with us and deliver us. Just as God delivered Daniel from the lions, God will deliver us. I have experienced this deliverance in my own life and have been witness to it in others. Deliverance doesn't always happen in our timing, and there certainly can be fear and pain as we wait. I have found though, that the best way to prepare oneself for the fires that come is to live in such a way that you are always ready for them.
Daniel is a great example of how we can live our lives prepared for fire. Daniel turns to God in all matters. He tells his friends to plead to God for mercy, he lifts praises up to God and he prays and seeks God's wisdom when he is in the face of harm. What I believe about Daniel is that his faith and trust in God was so strong that whatever the outcome had been of his trials, especially in the lions' den, he would have praised God.
If we want to be like Daniel, filled with faith and ready for the fire, then we must allow Christ to be sovereign in our lives. We are all unique creations who think and feel differently, but there are some practices that have proven to work in the lives of all believers. Those practices are read, seek and listen.
Read. Immerse yourself in scripture. If we meditate on scripture, then in those moments when our humanness wants to take over, scripture can prevail. The word of God can be our defense and our hope.
Seek God in all things. Praying without ceasing keeps us focused on the one who is greater than us. Offering prayers of thanksgiving and praise, pleas and petitions and, of course, confessions help us to surrender and strengthen our faith and trust.
Listen. God is working in, through and around us all the time. Take time to be still and allow God to speak, watch God move and feel his spirit within you.
Isaiah 43:3 says, "For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
God will always redeem and deliver us. I hope that I can come to live in such a way that, like Daniel, my life is a reflection of God's greatness and of my faith in his promises.