One of the greatest blessings of Christ’s Atonement is the promise that He can deliver us: from trials, afflictions, and death. Today, I would like to focus on the power of Christ to deliver us from our trials and afflictions.
In the Old Testament, we read about three Hebrew men who were not afraid to stand up for their beliefs and did not fear the consequences of a king who threatened their lives if they did not worship the golden image he had created. These individuals are none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. They were following the commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:3-4
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
While everyone else around them kneeled down and worshipped the golden image at the sound of music, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego stood their ground. When the king found out that these men had not obeyed his decree, he was angry and asked that they would be brought to him. Read the story as it unfolded from this point:
14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego trusted God and did not fear what man could do to them. They knew what they had to do. They knew which God they served. No golden image or fiery furnace scared them. They had faith that they would be delivered. Let’s pause for a moment. Are you currently about to enter a fiery furnace yourself? Is there a trial that you are facing that seems like it will be overwhelming because you chose to obey the commandments? Maybe your trial is ridicule or persecution. Maybe those around you don’t believe in the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman and think you are not keeping up with the times. Maybe you have chosen to leave the crowd and follow Christ instead. Maybe you have chosen to leave certain friends or habits behind, and those that knew you differently just don’t seem to understand why you are trying to be better. Maybe it is a completely different trial from these. And now you join Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego at the doorway of the furnace where everybody else seems to be falling apart and getting burned by the fire, but you are being protected from sin and the consequences of sin whether you see it or not. Let’s continue the story:
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, 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.
25 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.
26 ¶ Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
I love verse 25 because they were not alone—the Son of God was with them. And we are not alone! He is with US through the struggle, through the midst of the fiery furnace. Sometimes we acknowledge that He is with us through that difficult time, sometimes we don’t realize it until the trial is over or almost over. I can promise you one thing: when you realize that Christ is with you EVERY STEP of the way through your fiery furnace, it is a beautiful thing. You will gain a greater love for your Savior, your faith will be strengthened, and you will keep pushing through it with courage! And those that ridiculed you initially, will see the error of their ways eventually, maybe in this life or maybe not. You will become a beacon of light to them because of your testimony and your strength.
Let’s continue to explore the promises of deliverance with a few more verses.
15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
What does it mean to open [our] ears in oppression? I believe that when we are praying fervently for deliverance and are waiting for answers, the answers do come. We just have to listen. Sometimes we are feeling so overwhelmed and are searching for a specific answer that our ears are literally clogged and unable to hear the answer that is actually meant for the situation at that time. We are so set on wanting things to resolve OUR way that we fail to give the glory to God, whatever the outcome or direction He wants this trial to go. Just read ’30 Things God Taught Me before Age 30’ to see some of the things that I struggled with to accept the last few years. I am sure you can relate as well. And please, please, share with us your experiences by commenting at the end of this post! Let’s learn how to get through these fiery furnaces together!
The Lord also promises that ANYONE that calls upon Him shall be delivered. Wait what? Anyone? Even the bad guys? Yes, especially those that are not on the path. Christ came to atone for everyone’s sins, not just the righteous. It takes faith, repentance, being humble, and sincere prayer. He is willing and waiting to rescue anyone from their fiery furnace, even if the process takes several years to complete.
Maybe you need another scripture to help it all sink in.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
Peace! What a PROMISE! I am so excited about this one because we need that peace so that our fears can be calmed, so that hope can enter our hearts, and so that we can wait for the promise of deliverance with a different outlook. In April, when I was feeling downtrodden due to my physical pain, which has been a never ending struggle for some years, my husband gave me a couple of priesthood blessings. I was promised that my ailments would leave my body on one occasion, and that my ailments would be with my body for just a little while longer on a second occasion. I cannot describe to you the joy that entered my heart when I heard these words. I WOULD get better! I had so much hope and waited patiently for the fulfillment of those promises. But I didn’t sit idly and wait for something to happen. I made changes in my life. I stopped eating certain foods. I started nourishing my body differently, I focused on specific stretches every day, and I started to think positively. I hung on to the promises He made to me. The last couple of months, I have truly felt their fulfillment. Maybe I am not 100 percent healed, but I truly feel like I am there! I have more good days than I have bad days. I feel more joy! I feel like this following scripture:
15 I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand.
Friend, my heart reaches out to you. It may be extremely tough to find joy in your afflictions and trials, but I promise you, that if you call upon Christ for help, He will deliver you the way He sees best and on His own time table. He asked me to be a beacon of light to others. My trials were for that purpose, to help YOU. There is hope! He loves you! You are not alone! If you are not yet convinced, here is one last scripture:
10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
None of us are immune to struggles. We will all go through fiery furnaces, and we will be delivered. Once we are delivered, we will recognize that the refinement process was worthwhile. As we go through trials and afflictions, He is preparing us to know how we can help others. Christ is the ultimate example of one who is refined. The Atonement is such a great example of a furnace of affliction, one we will never truly comprehend. Because He reached into that furnace, He can truly pull us out of ours since He already experienced it. I have been refined in the furnace of affliction. And so have you. With this knowledge comes a responsibility: with our good works we will praise and glorify the Lord’s name. He needs us to lift others out of their furnaces as well, whatever they may be. Friend, we can do this! We will get through our fiery furnaces throughout our lives! And we will help others do the same!
Now, for the focus song. I wanted to leave the focus song last so that we could put it all together and recognize this important principle: remembering. We must remember what we’ve gone through and how help was graciously given. Lauren Daigle’s heart and soul is poured out in one of her newest songs, “Remember.” I love Lauren Daigle, and her new album is phenomenal, so check out her website here so that you can explore all her music. Listen to “Remember” here and read the lyrics here. Our fiery furnaces DO feel at times like they are crashing down upon us and the fear can creep into our hearts. Looking to Christ and asking for His help will help us dispel those thoughts and gain strength through our trials and afflictions. Even in the midst of the fiery furnace when your eyes were surrounded by smoke and you could not see the help around you, Christ was there. He was the fourth person in the fiery furnace that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were in, and He is the unseen Deliverer in yours. Don’t ever forget that! Nothing is impossible, whether there is a mountain ahead or an ocean to cross, Christ can and will pull you through everything. And after it is all over, don’t forget to remember His goodness through it all.
Read the rest of the Atonement Series
Jesus Christ: A Man of Sorrow
Jesus Christ in the Garden
Forgive All Men
The Power of Christ's Living Water
How to Heal a Broken Heart