The last few weeks have been crazy. So many things seem to have just gone “round the bend” in our current culture. The Supreme Court has re-defined marriage in a decision that is just as crazy as Roe. The tenth circuit has declared that the Little Sisters of the Poor must provide insurance coverage for employees who seek birth control and abortion. Pride parades all over the country have blatantly shown disrespect to and almost seem to be laughing at Christians. The chat on the internet is bullying and slinging terms like: bigot, homophobe, hater at anyone who openly states they are disappointed with and in disagreement with the SCOTUS decision. Ireland, the most Catholic of countries, has literally changed their constitution to re-define marriage as no longer exclusively between a man and a woman. It’s like being in the middle of a firestorm, a whirlwind for people who hold dear Christian and Biblical values. Is this the end, some wonder? Maybe we should just quit and move to a hermitage ala St. Benedict?
Seems like that would be the safer more peaceable choice! Signs of the times don’t look like they’re going to get any friendlier for Christians. Wouldn’t it be logical to get ourselves to a place of protection where we don’t have to put up with the baloney of people who simply don’t want to have anything to do with God? There is a phrase in counseling circles: “Feelings are not facts.” As we make our way through the world what kind of barometer do we use to help us understand where we should be and what our role is? Not our feelings! As the Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9) Feelings are an intense but fleeting experience. They are very real for the moment and then fade. Any decision based on the feelings of the immediate moment are most assuredly bound for disaster, the house built on sand.
Scripture gives us many incidents when the feelings of the moment would simply call for retreat or departure: the, The Exodus, The Wandering in the Desert, The Death of Lazarus, Agony in the Garden, The time in the Upper Room. One incident, though, gives me courage because it’s a lot like the times we are experiencing right now. Remember the young men in the fiery furnace? They angered the King because they refused to fall down and worship the graven image the King created. No fuss, no argument, no stress on their part, just NO was their response to the King’s order.
While the King was reacting with bluster and public fuss, the young men calmly declared that if the furnace was the choice, then that’s the way it was. The ovens were heated so extraordinarily that even the guards who opened the door were killed. At that point the three young men were introduced to their fate. The rest of the story is, of course, they survived. The description, however, is rife with clues about what we personally are supposed to do when confronted with apparent disaster like the Court’s decision or the current scandal surrounding the sale of fetal abortion tissue.
I am initially struck with the demeanor of the young men. While the King is fussing and blowing a gasket, they are calm, centered and even polite. What do people see when they observe the way you act with those who disagree with you? Do you argue with them and demean them? Next, before they are thrown into the furnace they are particularly describe as being fully dressed, complete with trousers and turbans. What about you, are you always clothed in prayer? As they enter the furnace, the King is astonished with the fact that they are walking around in the center of the flames without panic or trying to run for the exit. When you are in a tough place do you try to escape or remain in the middle of the fray as a credible witness? The King is also astonished by an angelic being who is also present in the furnace. Take to heart you are never left to manage on your own. Last, as they exit the furnace it is noted that nothing on them is singed and even the smell of fire is lacking. What’s your track record? Do you have even a whiff of behavior or thinking that would alienate you from the Lord and his gracious protection? The Book of Daniel is full of practical wisdom. The three young men are one of its prime lessons for we believers who are in the middle of modern society despite all of its ills!
Copyright© 2015, Kathryn M. Cunningham