Yesterday my wife and I were listening to the Our Daily Bread devotional together as we started our day. It was based on the familiar story from Daniel and the three thrown into the furnace. I heard this story many times but it seemed like God wanted me to hear something that I never heard before. We are told that a fourth person was in the furnace. We are told that the three came out of the furnace without hair singe, no burnt clothing, and not even the scent of smoke on them. I heard all this before. But what God wanted me to hear yesterday was the fact that something did burn in the furnace. Not their clothes. Not their hair. But while they were in the furnace, the ropes that bound them were burned.
Immediately God made an application. There are ropes that bind our hearts. Ropes that hold us captive. Ropes that keep us from freely living. What are those ropes that have been holding me back from walking in freedom from the sin that so easily entangles my heart? I think a prayer conversation with God that starts like this --- Jesus, can you show me the "ropes" that are holding my heart captive?
I moved on to see that it was in the furnace that these ropes were burned for the three. I then began to see that it is in the "furnace time" that the ropes that hold me are likewise burned up. During the difficult times. During the experiences that I consider trials. These are the "furnace times" that the ropes that bind my heart are burned. This gives a redemptive quality to these "furnace times", those experiences in life that I really did not ask for and that I do not want to experience.
Finally I begin to see that it is the presence of the "fourth man" in the "furnace times" that allows me to experience no longer being bound by the ropes. Knowing Jesus is present in the storms of life, in the "furnace times" of life, is key to experiencing the truth - "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world". Knowing Jesus is present in the "furnace times" is the reason that the "ropes" that bind my heart are burned up.
No "furnace time" is pleasant, however, Jesus is with us and it is because of Jesus joins us in the "furnace time" that the "ropes" are burned and when we exit the furnace we realize that our hair is singed, our clothes are not burned, and we do not even smell of smoke. The only lasting affect of the "furnace time" is that the ropes that bound our hearts are now no longer there!
Inviting God, to rescue you and deliver you from the "furnace" that you may be in as he is with you.