Redemption through the fire
By Amanda Elliott
They didn’t smell of smoke. I remember when I discovered this in a study of Daniel. It blew me away. I’ve never forgotten it. And when the mess from the past threatens to cast a shadow on the present, I claim it.
See, what had happened was Daniel and his friends were living in a land that didn’t honor the one true God. They were asked to bow to the powerful king. They refused. The option was to face a furnace so fiery and hot that those near it who threw the men in were burnt up.
Deliverance through the fire
The men were delivered. Not before the fire. But through the fire. Did you catch that? The miracle wasn’t a change of heart from a king at the last minute for no reason at all, which meant they could just avoid the fire altogether, which if I’m honest is what I often pray for. The miracle is that they went into the fire. They went INTO the bad thing. The awful thing. The thing meant to take their lives. And they survived it. Surviving, however, isn’t the miracle for most of us.
I’ve survived a lot of things in my 37 years on the earth. Most of them I didn’t do so well. They happened to me or because of me. And either way they left me singed and smelling of the fire.
I believed this big, deep and relentless lie of the enemy—that the fire causes damage that cannot be undone. This is nowhere in God’s Word. It’s a truth we’ve told ourselves based on human experience, not the authority of God almighty—the One who raises the dead, makes the blind to see and parts massive deep seas to deliver His people.
What His Word tells us is that He is slow to anger—that’s for those who are doing the burning. What His Word tells us is that He works all things together for our good—that’s for those who are burning. What His Word tells us is that we can be content in EVERY circumstance—that’s for those reeling, wounded, enduring, nursing the burns.
Unscorched through the fire
When the three men came out of the fire we’re told the authorities gathered around them, got a close look and saw this: not a hair on their head singed, unscorched clothing and not a smell of smoke. King James version uses the phrase: “nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”
If you’re waiting for the bad thing to happen, know that He can bring you through without smelling of it. If the bad thing is happening, know that He can bring you through it for all to see you without a hair singed. If the bad thing happened and you’re ready to testify that you are forever damaged, stop. Don’t rehearse the lie of the enemy that His Word is untrue. It’s Satan’s first and surest foothold—convincing humans that our perspective, experience and feelings override the unfailing truth of His Word and His eternal promises.
He is good. It’s true on the dark days, in the fire and when we can’t see the sun or feel the Son. His blesses us. It’s true when the car breaks down, when the bank account is empty and when your heart is bloody pulp. God redeems everything. On one side of heaven or the other, we will know this.
I used to believe that some things you never get past that especially those things we’ve done in our sin and rebellion will forever haunt us. I’ve believed so much in the natural consequences for the wrong I’ve done. I think this may get preached for fear everyone will use grace as an excuse to sin. (Not a new concept. Paul warns of this attitude thousands of years ago.)
Redemption through the fire
But, Jesus paid the price for all of it. When I repent. Truly turn. Not pay a price or penance or serve punishment. But, when I return to Him and let His blood cover, it’s finished. It’s miraculous and nonsense to the economy of the world. It’s entirely unfair.
But, I don’t serve a God that makes any sense to us humans. I serve a God who put on flesh and walked a dirty earth, died a sinner’s shameful death and rose FROM THE DEAD. For me. Makes no sense at all, outside of a love so miraculous that it can do the impossible—bring us through fire without a hint of smoke.