“…for no other god can save in this way.” (Daniel 3:29 NIV)
If you want to see the sunrise you have to get up early in the morning. If you want to catch peacock bass, you are going to have to travel to South America. If you want to hike the Grand Tetons, a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming is in order. If you want to hunt elk, most likely you are going to have to travel to the western United States. Why? Because the sun rises in the morning, peacock bass live in South America, Jackson Hole is a major gateway to the Tetons, and the largest elk herds live in the western states
God, however, can be found anywhere. Still, I have discovered over the years, the best viewing locations of God are not found in the comfort of the church or your favorite chair. One of the best places to see God for who he really is, is in the midst of turmoil. If we really want to see just how powerful and capable God is, look for him in the fires of life we all experience. Even more so, sometimes we merely need to look at how others face turmoil with God to understand how faithful he is. This is where King Nebuchadnezzar saw God and it changed his life.
The king was outraged because three young men would not bow down and worship the king’s god, a gold statue. Their disobedience to the king’s decree was in response to their faithfulness to the one true God. In response, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the three young men executed; they were to be put to death in a fiery furnace. So outraged was the king at the men’s defiance he ordered the furnace heated seven time hotter than it had ever been. Then he threw them in.
It should have been an excruciating, horrible death for the three young men. However, they were soon seen walking comfortably around in the furnace. The king watched in amazement and became excitedly puzzled as he saw not three but rather four men walking around. The fourth man, the king observed, had the appearance of “the son of gods”. Could it be? Had God, or more appropriately the very son of God, shown up to save the men at life’s most trying moment? Indeed God had. It is evidence that when life is at its worst, God is at His best. When men and women of faith, exercise that faith during life’s toughest moments, and trust God for the outcomes, God often moves in unmistakable and remarkable ways. God shows up in our darkest hours when we remain faithful to Him.
The king, who moments earlier was attempting to execute the men for their refusal to worship his golden statue, was now proclaiming his belief and allegiance to the Most High God (v. 26), giving Him praise (v.28), and instructing all people to now worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (v. 29). What changed? The King saw God show up in the midst of the men’s most critical life moment and because of their faith God saw them through. I believe as Christians, our greatest witness comes not by what we say, but rather, by how people see our faith reflected during turmoil.
Not long ago, I received a call from a person whom I barely knew; we had only met once at a trade show and merely exchanged cards. He explained to me he had just watched a hunting buddy of his slowly die from disease in a hospital bed. He said his friend never complained about the disease and never complained about dying. Instead, the caller said he expressed complete joy and total peace based on his relationship with Jesus Christ up until the very moment he died and entered eternity. The caller asked me, “Doug, I want the same joy and peace he had. Can you help me?”
Do you need to see just how mighty God is? Stand close to the fire. Seek out a faithful servant of God. Ask him or her how God has moved in their life. Watch them do life through the tough times. Better yet, next time you find yourself entering a fiery furnace, remember to turn the situation over to God. Trust Him for the outcome. Don’t be afraid; know He is in control. No matter what you are facing, I guarantee, He will be standing right next to you, for all to see. It is a most powerful witness.