Daniel 3:22 Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the
furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it,
Giving in and giving up seems to be an easy way out some days when the burdens and trials and pressures of life pile up. Instead of looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, we decide to just sit right down in the middle of the darkness and hang out. We give up on ourselves a lot but what about when we give up on others? It is bad to give up on ourselves but even worse when we give up on somebody else. We sometimes turn our backs on troubled souls and leave them to stumble in the darkness of this world, throw them to the wolves so to speak. When we lose hope for others and give up trying to show them there is a great light they can find, who knows what effect that will have on their lives, or maybe even on their very souls. If you had the power to give someone hope of heaven or leave them lost in darkness to possibly be cast into the fires of hell would you turn your back and give up on them so quickly?
In the Book of Daniel, we find the very familiar story of the fiery furnace. Three were cast in. The fire was so hot that when the three were thrown in, it killed the guards who did the throwing. The three men stood strong in the fire and survived because of their great faith. If their faith hadn't have been strong how different the story would have been.
In the world, there are many who have no faith, some who have little faith and a few who have great faith as
Shadrach of Meshach; and Abednego did No matter where a person falls on the faith meter, those of us who claim any faith should be very careful who we give up on and toss in the fire. Sometimes it seems so much easier to look the other way and ignore those with little faith stumbling in the darkness. Even if you think your effort will be worthless, take the time to direct them toward the light and build their faith. Remember the guards in Daniel were killed when they thought another person to be worthless.
Be careful who you give up on. You might be tossing them toward the very fires of hell and their faith might not be strong enough to survive.
Which brings me to the subject I want to talk about in the first place this last week of July Bible. Today was the last session of a summer outreach for children at a local apartment complex. School is starting back you know. The last few weeks we have had some older children, teens actually, coming who are very disrespectful and disruptive. We don't want to turn anyone away. If we did, the whole purpose of reaching out would be defeated. Our little classroom, that I like to think of as a little church, lately has reminded me of scenes from a movie I saw once about a group of students who did all that was humanly possible to make teaching impossible.
Today at least fifteen minutes passed by with nothing being accomplished rather than outburst after outburst. Then something amazing happened.
Two or three of the children went to the front to sit on a table they had been asked not to sit on. They also began to pick up supplies that had been brought in for the lesson. One little girl asked, " Is this what we are doing for craft today?" The teacher who was attempting to teach said, "No, no craft today, there is not going to be time now because all the time that has been wasted." The children were then asked to be quiet again and again and asked to leave the supplies alone. One of the supply meddlers was one of the older teens. He picked up the Bible and began to read it aloud. His purpose he thought when he began was to be cute and put on a show. He began to read at the very beginning. He read about darkness and light. He read that God said it was good. He then said in his best teacher voice, "Ok do y'all understand God made light if He hadn't done that we would be here in the dark?" After he said that, it was like a light went on. He began to understand respect, that he certainly appeared to have none of for anyone. But when he read God's Word out loud, he felt the power of the Word, the power of God, and he could not, not respect Him.
He then became the teacher for real. He read the entire passage of scripture which was the planned lesson for today. He read about Daniel in the lion's den. The room was so quiet. It was, as I said, very amazing to watch. It was definitely a miracle from God, a sign I guess you could say, happening right before our eyes on the last week of July, the very hot unofficial end of Summer.
We are children of light, not of darkness. The Light is always with us. Sometimes it takes a little darkness to make us truly appreciate the Great Light that is so good. That's no lie.