Daniel 3: 19 - 29
Surviving Suffering – Showing God’s Power
We have all heard wonderful stories of Christians who were persecuted and stood firm in their faith. But why does God allow us to suffer at all? Surely if He truly loved us we would not have to suffer.
The Bible teaches something quite different. Since the whole of the Christian message is based on suffering and, in particular, the suffering of the Son of God on the cross for our sins, it is astonishing that we should expect our Christian lives to be free from suffering.
The Bible teaches us that it is good for us to endure suffering for a while, so that we might be more like Christ who endured the ultimate suffering for us (Romans 5: 3; James 1: 2). We also know that Jesus is with us during these times.
Imagine what it was actually like for Daniel’s friends in the furnace (v23). The Lord appears to them, unties them and assures them their ordeal will not last much longer. He tells them that He has to show the king that He rescues His people, and even although they are humiliated, He remains with them so that they will learn perseverance.
One of my lasting memories from my limited medical work on the mission field in both Africa and China is the courage and perseverance of older and wiser Christians. I remember long nights when I would quiz the missionaries at length about their experiences and was constantly amazed at how much they had come through over the years.
Hudson Taylor, who was perhaps the most famous missionary to China, is a great example of a man who was prepared to go to any length to show Christ’s love and make Him known. Despite losing his young wife and experiencing endless suffering, he never gave up. People like that show us how God has used the most turbulent experiences to prepare His servants for the task of leadership.
Prayer and Action Look back at key events in your Christian life. Think about situations that seemed hard at first but where in hindsight you can see God lovingly at work.
Give thanks for those times and commit to Him any current difficulties asking for help to persevere and press on.