Into the fire...part 2

Richard's daughter was playing with a few beads, she loved them and her whole soul seemed absorbed in the beads. Richard said so her, “you have some pretty beads there.” “yes daddy”. “you seem very pleased with them”, “yes daddy” “well now, throw them into the fire.”

She was shocked, tears welled up in her eyes. She looked at her father, longing to have a reason for the cruel sacrifice. Her dad simply said, “do as you please, but you know I have never told you to do anything, which I did not think would be good for you.”

She summoned all her strength and threw them into the fire. Her father said, “you’ll hear more about them another time, but say no more for now.”

Can you imagine how hard this must have been for her in the moment?

Well, a few days later her dad gave her a box full of even more beautiful beads! She opened it up and burst into joyful tears.

Her dad said to her:

“Those, my child, are yours, because you believed me when I told you it would be better for you if you threw the 2 or 3 beads you had into the fire. Now that has brought you this treasure. But now my dear remember, as long as you live, what faith is. I did this to teach you the meaning of faith. You threw away your beads when I asked you to because you had faith in me that I told you it would be better for you.  Put the same confidence in God. Believe every thing that he says in his Word. Whether you understand it or not, have faith in him that he means it for your good.”

(Illustration taken from "Preaching Illustrations from Church History by Ron Prossie)

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When I first read this account, I was pretty shocked, and thought, how could he be so cruel! But as I reconsidered it I thought, what an incredible lesson for his daughter to learn at such a young age.  A few days heartache may have helped to prevent many years of heartache and questioning of where God is when it hurts. I would have loved to have learnt this lesson at an early age; it might have saved 8 years of being angry and bitter at God for allowing my mum to lose her battle to cancer in her early 40's. If only I had known, if only we all knew that God knows what is best, is always loving, and always in control.  We might not fully understand, but just like Richard's daughter knew he never asked her to do anything that would not be for her good, so God asks us to trust Him that He's working things for good, even when we don't fully understand.  When we need proof of his love, we need to look no further than the cross of Christ. 

Daniel’s friends had learnt it, they knew God’s Word said not to bow down to idols, they obeyed, even when it looked like it would cost them their lives. God was with them in the furnace, and mercifully God delivered them.