Irene Wintermyer: Fearless Firefighters
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.~Isaiah 43:2 NKJV
Recently, I read about a tree that regenerates through fire, the pinus contorta.
With this particular pine, the twisted elastic-like branches are difficult to break, and its seeds are located in cones. When the cones are subjected to extreme heat, like a wildfire, they release the seeds which enables this species to reproduce.
It’s hard to fathom that the average heat from a wildfire could reach fourteen thousand Fahrenheit or more. What or who could survive such an environment? To imagine such a small seed could thrive through such a destructive force is incredible, or dare I say, miraculous.
In the book of Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abed-Nego outlived such violent fires, figuratively and literally. When King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, he spared men who were handsome, gifted, and knowledgeable. Because these prisoners were placed under the charge of Ashpenaz, the Chief Eunuch, there is a strong probability they were also subjected to the tortuous procedure of castration.
Despite the many challenges endured, they continued to remain faithful. God prospered them in all they did, making them wiser than all the magicians and astrologers in the kingdom, further elevating their positions. When Meshach, Shadrach, and Abed-Nego refused to worship the golden image erected of the king, their defiance incurred a penalty of death by fire. Regardless of the consequences, they still refused to bow down before the idol.
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.~Daniel 3:17-18 NKJV
Out of anger, Nebuchadnezzar had his soldiers heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual, which killed the men who escorted Meshach, Shadrach, and Abed-Nego to their doom. The spectators expected to watch an execution, but instead they witnessed four men walking around in the fire.
Like the cones of the pinus contorta, the furnace allowed Meshach, Shadrach, and Abed-Nego to release their seeds of faith. This miraculous event influenced King Nebuchadnezzar, and probably other onlookers, resulting in acknowledgment and praise of our one true God. When situations come our way, instead of trying to extinguish the fire, release your seeds of faith and allow God to do the rest.
I’m amazed at how the men never lost faith in God when they were captured, when friends and family were killed, when they were castrated, and when they were thrown into the furnace. We read that our Savior appeared to them as the fourth person in the fire. No one knows what they spoke about, but I have to believe Jesus told the three men He had been with them the whole time.
…I will never leave you nor forsake you.~Hebrews 13:5 NKJV
In times of happiness and in times of sadness or trouble, Jesus is always there. Never lose faith, instead, wait and watch as Jesus reveals his mighty power in us and through us.
When the heat of life becomes too much to bear, do you grab the fire extinguisher and take control, or stand back and give it to God?
Heavenly Father, I know You use all circumstances for Your good and You walk beside me in times of trouble. Make Your strength perfect in my weakness so that my faith may shine, to be a light for those who dwell in darkness. Like Meshach, Shadrach, and Abed-Nego, help me to stand firm in the midst of struggle, knowing You will never abandon me or let me be burned by the fire.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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