Look, ma, my robe isn't even scorched!

The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!" (Daniel 3:22-28)

I understand this story in a more personal way than ever before. What do you think the mindset of these men was as they approached the furnace, so hot that the flames killed their escorts before they even reached the edge? I doubt it was complete, unwavering faith in their deliverance! Why would God, who also receives glory when His faithful followers die rather than renounce Him, choose to save these three men? I imagine they walked into the flames saying a prayer for courage as they faced certain, painful death...and a quick reunion with their friends and family in heaven! And so I faced cancer. Not certain death, but certain uncertainty. I faced it with the possibility that God would take me from a young family, that I and these dear children and rock of a husband would be living proof that you can serve God through sorrow and worship Him in your deepest pit of distress.

Now I have emerged from the other side of my personal furnace. I walked through the furnace accompanied by an angel. I felt the love of God poured out on my life in a new way. I prayed for courage...and what I received - at least for the moment - is healing and protection. The fire didn't harm my body, didn't scorch my robe, and there is no smell of smoke on me. Negative labs. Unheard of. To go from positive for cancer to absolutely no sign of cancer using only a minimal dose of the required treatment. Facing vascular invasion, potential distant metastases, positive antibodies and thyroglobulin levels to...nothing. To be the one who is rescued!

And how do I look into the faces of dear friends and loved ones who are not be rescued, but rather are joining...or have already joined...the martyrs of old? How do I continue to minister to those who fight and lose, when God chose to heal me? New questions emerge where old ones have finally received an answer. I love that - and find it frustrating, all at once. The Christian walk is never to a destination - not an earthly one. It is a winding path fraught with difficulty, side by side with unexpected beauty. Once again, I've rounded an unexpected curve, only to find just a short stretch of the path visible in front of me. No long straight stretches to spin my wheels on. This trial, if I am to use it best, still requires careful navigation. Let me not fall victim to a prosperity gospel that preaches constant and instantaneous deliverance. Let me not see healing as overly causal.

Above all, let me find the best way, in this, too, to give Him all the glory, and all the honor and all the praise.

when I think about the Lord
how He saved, how He raised me
how He filled me with the Holy Ghost
how He healed me to the uttermost
when I think about the Lord
how He picked me up
turned me around
how He set my feet
on solid ground

it makes me want to shout
hallelujah! thank you, Jesus!
Lord, you're worthy
of all the glory, and all the honor
and all the praise!
Hallelujah! thank you, Jesus!
Lord, you're worthy
of all the glory, and all the honor
and all the praise!
(Ephesians 2:4-7, II Corinthians 5:17)
When I Think About the Lord, James Huey