“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2)
Written by Joe Smith
Being a follower of God is an amazing badge of honor; unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. You will constantly run into people who want to trip you up. They want to test you to see if you really are different and if your relationship with God is something genuine. The closer you are to God the easier it is to stay strong and remain focused on the Lord. Two great stories illustrating this point are found in the book of Daniel.
Daniel and his friends face a tough decision
Israel was captured by Babylon and the new King, Nebuchadnezzar, decided he needed to get some of the best people in this newly conquered area to work in his palace. Daniel was one of the young men selected. The Bible also mentions three other men from the same area that got the call: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We will come to find out these four men were willing to put their lives on the line to show that their faith was the real deal.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were put in a tough situation when the King decided to build a giant golden statue of himself for the people to worship. Since they could only worship the one true God, they decided to not bow down and worship the giant statue. Of course, word got around and it eventually got back to the King who was furious. He brought Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into his palace and gave them a chance to correct their “mistake.” They were to bow down and worship or else they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.
The Response of a lifetime
Their response was bold. It was legendary. They said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18) It is important to note when they say “even if he does not”, they are not questioning God’s ability to save them; they are admitting that they do not know God’s plan. Nevertheless they trusted that plan.
How do you handle adversity at the rink?
What an amazing display of faith and trust in the Lord. They would eventually be thrown into the fire only to walk out unharmed minutes later. What an amazing story! Even though we don’t have to deal with threats of being thrown into a real fire today, we must respond to the smaller fires which happen in our own lives. There are countless examples of faith testing in the hockey arena. People will want to know whether you’re truly different or if you’re just like everyone else. They can find out quickly based on how you interact with teammates and the opposition. It’s evident based on how you handle adversity on the ice. It’s evident based on how you conduct yourself off the ice as well. Hockey teams are extremely close knit groups and you will find out a lot about each when the testing comes. Therefore, it is important to stand for God, the one who can get you through even the most severe of flames.