“So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?’ ‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did’ they replied. ‘Look!’ Nebuchadnezzar shouted. ‘I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Daniel 3:23-25
Recently, my pastor preached a sermon on brokenness and he referenced the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He told us that God doesn’t always remove us from the fire, but He always joins us in the fire. This was a revelation for me and really has rocked me in a way that I view God, my life and struggles in a whole different light.
It is so much easier and makes better sense to pray and beg God to remove us from the fires in our lives. We just want to be happy and have great things happen to us, we don’t want to endure anything that may be painful and/or hard to go through. We long for things to be normal and in order. We just want perfection, or is that just me?
What if instead of asking God to remove us from our struggles we ask that He make it known that He is there with us? With that knowledge, our fires will be less painful and miserable. The fact is that God has always been with us in these fires, we are just not always aware of His presence because we are so caught up in the moment and the pain. These fires are there for a reason, to teach us more about who God is and who we are because of Him.
As long and painful as these last few years have been with my own porn addiction, there have been many times when I would pray and ask God to remove my desire for this stuff and yet that never happened. I would become so angry because it seemed as if God wasn’t doing anything to help me. Was I asking too much? I didn’t think so. Looking back though, I know that God was with me in those moments and not leaving my side. I know that He was not disgusted with me or about to give up, instead He was standing right beside me and sympathizing with me and my struggle.
Looking back, I can honestly say that I am thankful for what I have gone through and thankful to God for not removing me from the problem but instead being there with me and showing me more of who He is and how to conquer this addiction, with Him help. I can say that I know more about God than ever before and that is because of the road I have been down. We are going to learn the most important lessons in the fire, not standing outside of it.
I have learned some hard lessons and I know that my porn addiction will always be a part of me but I know that I am not defined by it. I can rejoice in the fact that God was and is there with me, teaching me many things and loving me along the way.
May you truly seek God and see that He has been there with you all along. May you look for what He may be teaching you in this fire and never give up because it just seems too hard.