Daniel 3: 12 - 18
Surviving Suffering – Standing Firm
I was working in Africa at the start of 2002 in a mission hospital near Durban. I will never forget the day I was pricked with a needle while doing a femoral artery stab on a lady with suspected diabetic ketoacidosis. I knew that almost 50% of the patients in the hospital were HIV positive. I clearly remember going back to the small hot and dusty room in the hospital where I was staying and crying my heart out.
Over the next few days I thought deeply about the suffering that faces Christians all over the world and the insecurity that suffering brings. I began to understand what it is like not knowing what is going to happen next in your life or how everything may suddenly change for the worse. I thought about Christ and the cross and how much He and the apostles suffered for their faith (Philippians 3: 10).
In this chapter, Daniel’s three friends face great suffering. Imagine what it must have been like for them when they refused to bow down before this pagan idol (v12), and the suffering they and their friends and family must have gone through when the order was given for them to be thrown into the fiery furnace (v20).
We can learn so much from their attitude to this terrible suffering (vs17 - 18). They were prepared to die for their faith and accepted that God may not deliver them, but allow them to suffer in order that His greater purposes be realised. Whatever was going to happen, they were absolutely resolute in their commitment to follow God’s way for them and not compromise their faith by bowing down to the image of gold. Perhaps today you will be called to face some suffering for your faith. Thankfully God protected Daniel’s friends. And in my case, although not anything like on the same scale, the patient I treated was HIV negative and my anxiety came to an end. The question is, will you be prepared to suffer like these three men when there is no guarantee of deliverance?
Prayer and Action
Thank God that He is able to save you from any fiery trial you may face today. Spend some time praying for yourself, and for others working with you, for the strength to stand firm in the face of trials.