This is the final installment of our “An Awkward Stance – a study of Daniel” series.
Good morning, peeps!
If you ever want a fight to jump off, tell a mother that her labor pain was nothing compared to yours.
What’s that quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”? Naw. Comparison’s gonna be the thief of your teeth…especially when it comes to comparing your pain to mine. I remember telling someone that I actually slept through the 16.5782 hours of labor I had with my first child. Do you know what they said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY HAD THE NERVE TO SAY???
“It must not have been that bad.”
What I didn’t tell them and now I wish I had, was that I’d been in extreme pain for 10 years. I had the most horrific 7-day-long cycles. I’d be in so much pain that I would writhe on the floor and there was nothing over-the-counter that would help. Pamprin and Midol were candy to me. My uterus was so scarred, I was told that I would never have children. All that thang was good for was shedding. That’s it. You’ve heard of Hot Pockets? I had a Pain Pocket. So, I’d had 10 years of building up my tolerance for pain before the task of bringing Alex into this world began. My contractions felt like someone was poking me in the side…with their finger.
Daniel 3:12-22 KJV:
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
After I typed the last blog, I wondered if Shad, Mesh, and Abed felt any of the heat from the furnace they were tossed into and if it hurt at all. Fire is hot, folks. There’s no such thing as fire that isn’t hot. I looked it up. A “cool flame” is about 400 degrees Celsius (752 F). Um, that’s hot. There are a lot of people who believe that the furnace wasn’t very hot and we’re making too big of a deal about what SMA experienced. Some have suggested that the boys must’ve found a cool spot in the furnace to stand in. What?? Who would’ve had time to find a cool spot?? Plus, if there were some cool spots, you first had to get through the burn-em-up spots. Shall we talk about the entrance? If the heat at the entry of the furnace was hot enough to snatch up the guards who put them in…c’mon, son.
I know what you’re going to say – they had God with them. Yes, they did. A lot of us do, but guess what? Stuff still hurts. The song “Even If” by MercyMe was on repeat in my head this morning as I thought about how much I wanted today to be Saturday. Not the entire song, but just a few phrases…
“…even if You don’t, my hope’s in You alone…it is well with my soul”
Fighting words: it is well.
We all have our own fiery furnace(s). I will not waste my time trying to compare them. Mine will not look like yours and I don’t need to add “and it doesn’t mean it isn’t just as hot”. Truthfully, if I am your sister-in-Christ, I hope it isn’t. My furnaces have sucked big time and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have went through. Nope. If you come to me with what you’re going through, I’m going to listen and scrunch up my face like “Deg! That’s messed up!” and let you get it all out. I will never say, “Yeah, but that ain’t nothing compared to what happened to me.” That is something I will never do.
What I will do is encourage your “even if”…because I know the power of “it is well”.
In Hebrews 12:1, it says “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” This is how important that passage is to me: I actually typed it. I usually copy/paste from Google, but this time, I have my bible right next to me and typed it. Whenever you see “wherefore” or “therefore”, it means “for this reason” and that reason is found in the verses prior to that statement. PLEASE read every stankin’ bit of Hebrews 11 this morning. Please. I will copy/paste (’cause I need to leave for work”) verses 33-40:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
I am a part of that cloud of witnesses for you. I can encourage your “even if” with my “it is well”. I’ve faced my own fiery furnaces and had to make the choice to say “even if” and believe that I would come out on the other side looking nothing like what I went through. Because I knew “it is well”.
Because it is well. Believe that through all of your “even ifs”. That, my friends, is the choice we have to make. The choice to believe that God is with us, in us, and working through us. The choice to believe that we are who He says we are and can accomplish what He has created and called us to do. The choice to be believe that even when we feel the heat of the furnace on our faces and can see the flames flickering, we will still approach it with confidence, fully willing to say “even if” because we know that so many before us have said it too.
Because they believed that “even if He didn’t”, it is well.
Love you all.