By Mark Francey, Australia
Early in my Christian life I was asked to help out at a youth camp. At that time I was a university student and had just lost my job several months earlier. So, money was quite tight but I decided to go for it.
After paying for the camp I was left with $200 to my name. The week after, I got a speeding fine in the mail and was left with $50 in my bank account. I couldn’t understand why God was letting me suffer when all I was trying to do was serve Him.
Well, during this camp, a number of students came to know the Lord and this really got me thinking. When I reflected about the time I spent there versus my poor financial position, I realized that participating in God’s salvation work was much more worthwhile than storing riches on earth.
The Bible tells us in John 16:33 that in this world we will indeed suffer. We see three young men suffered for their faith in Daniel 3. The account unfolds with King Nebuchadnezzar enforcing a law that whenever the people heard the sound of music they were to fall to their knees and worship a golden statue that Nebuchadnezzar constructed. Three Jewish young men—Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego—refused to follow this law and we see in verse 13 that it greatly infuriated the king. He threatened them with death by incineration (v 15) and commanded them to obey his law immediately. But in an ultimate act of trust in the Lord, the young men defied him once again (v 18).
The young men showed unfailing trust in the power of God and His sovereign plan. They believed that God could save them but even if He didn’t, they would still not disobey Him by bowing down to anyone but God alone (vv 17-18). The story continues to tell of how the men were unharmed in the furnace because an angel of the Lord was sent to protect them (vv 25-28).
This immense trust in the Lord bought king Nebuchadnezzar to his knees. He worshipped the God of these young men, the God of you and I.
So trust the Lord to walk with you through the fires of life and as we see in Daniel 3, He can use the worst of your situations and turn them around to show forth His glory.
God has a reason for all our sufferings. He could be using it to make our faith stronger (1 Peter 1: 6-7), to shape us into the people He wants us to be (Job 23: 8-10), or that we may not be ashamed to tell others about the Lord (2 Timothy 1:8).
Hence if you’re suffering today, remember that God has a purpose for it—just as He does for your entire life. Pray today for His strength to endure, His wisdom to understand the situation and His peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.
I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you!
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.