Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
In the fiery furnace, by Chris Cook, 2013
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
— Daniel 3:24-25
Three men bound, four men loose. Nebuchadnezzar is astounded. It is indeed astounding what trouble, despair and hopelessness a mortal can overcome when walking side by side with the angels. Life is full of trials, (and a few charmed and privileged lives aside) awash with troubles and difficulties. When we struggle alone our troubles are hard to overcome; we are easily dragged down into despair, feeling lost and alone. Walking with the angels we can be lifted above the mundane. The angel in this story, the Son of God, is the personification of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's faith.
Throughout the preceding interrogation the three men never wavered in their commitment, in their loyalty to God. No threat was terrible enough to undermine their faith. They could so easily have succumbed to fear, making the justifiable excuse that they are better able to serve God while alive, or that Babylon was a different place, so called for a different response, or that simply they liked their lifestyle and saw no reason to lose it through stubbornness. Each excuse we make chisels away at our integrity. And when we undermine our integrity our life is no longer our own. We have sold our soul. The three friends knew this, and stayed true.
No matter how difficult a situation is, if we stay true to our values and principles we will come through it, whole and blessed, we become models to others of how to live well. And if we don't come through, we leave this world in peace, our integrity intact knowing our short slice of life was well lived. No regrets.