I sat in my classroom, watching my students play outside during P.E, through my big window. I sat there in awe of where I was and the opportunity I have as their teacher to demonstrate and show them the love of Jesus. I also thought about God’s intricate detail and perfect timing in placing these students in my life at this particular time in their lives. I began to process and think about where I was a year ago from this very moment. A year ago, I was drowning in school work with no certainty about where I would be next or if I was even going to graduate.
Now, I have recently been going through the book of Daniel. In Daniel Chapter 2-3, It talks about Daniel’s friends, Shadrack, Meeshack, and Abednego. These three men Loved and worshiped God in a pagan land. They were faithful and obedient to Him daily. Thus, when the King made a decree to worship an idol, they refused because of their obedience to God. The king was furious, so he sent them into a fiery furnace. The king was astonished as he looked at those three men in the fire and noticed, there was a fourth standing with them. The fourth was possibly an angel. The king then took the men out of the fire and to his disbelief, they were untouched; no burns, no marks, nothing. He declared their God, our God, the God of all the nations and blessed these men tenfold.
As I read this familiar story, a few things stuck out to me. First, God could have easily saved those three men from the fire because of their faith and obedience to Him, but He didn’t. The Fire was necessary for God’s divine purpose. My pastor back home refers to this fire as, “the stage of God’s most famous works.” Therefore, we each have our own set of fires that we face in life such as sickness, or difficult circumstances or choices we must make. A lot of times we pray against those fires or that God would prevent us from them. However, a lot of times that fire is exactly what God wants to use to make His name more known and because of our faith and obedience, He chooses us to go through that Fire with Him. God wants to take us through the fire to bring more glory to His name, to refine us, and to prepare us for better promises.
Secondly, this passage in Daniel reminded me of God’s everlasting presence. Our God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. Thus, when he calls us to go through the fire, He doesn’t just sit and watch us go through hardship. Instead, He takes our hand and walks through the fire with us. In that fire, He protects us so that we will not get burned. Though we might face challenges and refinement in our own fires, God’s loving protection never leaves us, so much so that when we walk through fires others see His light and presence through us!
Lastly, at the very end of this passage in Daniel, we see that the king was so blown away by God’s presence in the fire, that he declared God the highest! This was a pagan king who not only decided to follow God but made God’s name known to an entire nation! That is crazy to me how God’s plan and purpose for our fires are so much bigger than we can see or imagine. If God had prevented the fire from Shadrack, Meshack and Abendigo then His name would not be made famous to an entire nation. Not only that, but God wouldn’t have been able to bless these men in the unbelievable way he did because of their obedience to Him through the fire.
Thus, as I think about the many, challenging fires that God walked me through a year ago, I can’t help but feel so blessed and thankful that God loved me enough to allow me to go through them to bring me here, to this place. Had I not gone through them, I’d miss the opportunity to teach here and to have a deep love and care for these kids that I didn’t even know I could have. Had it not been for those fires, I would not have the chance to sit here at my desk and watch these amazing children play and sit in awe of how faithful our God is.
If you’d like to support Philem as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!