Until that great glorious day He calls us home, rest assured that Jesus Christ is there to hold you when the storms of doubt blow in, tenderly hug you when the physical body is wracked by disease or pain, and most of all; Jesus will never judge you, condemn you or cast you away just because you are not perfect in this life.
I was reminded of an account in the Book of Daniel which is near and dear to my heart. This story has burned deep within my heart my entire life for though I don't remember the very first time, knowing my mother, it has been a story I have heard my entire life. A story I have shared with my own son countless times and a story that I have shared with hundred, perhaps thousands of children over the years. The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
When confronted with death, these men boldly stood before one of the most powerful men in history and declared that they would not disobey God and bow down to his image. They declared that they did not need time to go and think it over. They declared that God could save them if He chose to do so but even if He didn't... they would willingly meet their doom.
If this were a movie, this would be the point where 10,000 legions of angels would swoop down to their rescue. Or perhaps, there would be thunder and lightening would strike the King and all of his men. Then again, perhaps the earth would shake and all of their enemies would be destroyed or they would be snatched away suddenly by God. This wasn't Hollywood, however. It was Babylon and God allowed their enemies to cast them into the fire.
It is true those who did the physical act were killed by the heat of the flames as they did so but the King and the rest of the people were still very much alive. Sahdrach, Meshach and Abednego however, were in the midst of the fire.
I could not write this next part without sitting in silence for a moment. What happens next never fails to move me for I know that what happens next was not just for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. It is for me and it is for you.
Though these men were in the fire... they walked in it with God. I have to write those words again. Though these men were in the fire... they walked in it with God.
What does this mean for us? It means that there are times when God is going to allow you to be pushed into the fire.
A loving God wouldn't do that? What makes us any different than Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Do we really think God loved them any less than He loves you? Men who boldly stood up in obedience to God before the man who has gone down in history as one of the most powerful man who ever lived? Surely no one would ever suggest that God did not love these men and they did not love Him in return. Surely no one would suggest these men were being punished by God!
When we are "pushed into the fire", Jesus Christ goes into it right along with us. He is the Fourth Man in the fire. The fire burns away our shackles, things which bind us but it does not destroy us.
In the movie, The Last Brickmaker In America, the old brickmaker, Henry Cobb, peers through a hole in the kiln while firing brick. Henry doesn't need a thermometer to tell whether or not the brick needs more heat. He simply reads the fire. The people around him couldn't read that fire but Henry could... because he knew exactly what he was doing.
God is "The Brickmaker". He knows exactly when we need to go into the fire. He knows exactly what the right temperature of that fire must be. He knows exactly how long we need to be in that particular fire and He always has His eye upon us, giving us what we need, when we need it.
Will we trust Him?
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.- Isaiah 43:2 (NASB)