It is a sober morning as we wake up and as the daylight rises we see the overnight storm damage. I had a sleepless night as storm after storm rolled through, but the house is intact. I’m thankful for the Lord’s protection. Now one may say, ‘what about all those believers who prayed but whose homes were destroyed? Didn’t they have the Lord’s protection?’ Yes, they did.
In my case, I prayed to the Lord for protection of my body and my home from storm damage. I have full faith and trust that He would do it, and He did.
Others who pray the same in full faith but whose homes are now rubble are also under His protection. The effects of sin in this world means that there will be suffering, but those who are suffering have a new opportunity this morning to turn to Him, and think of eternal things. It affords an opportunity for Christian ministries to minister in His name to the lost, the weak, the brethren. Living in a fallen world means bad things will happen.
I prayed for protection last night and I knew He is able to deliver it. But I did not pray, “Protect me, O Lord, for I am one of your children and You are on my side.” That is testing the Lord. I know His will as it is revealed in the Word, but I do not know His will in each specific circumstance of my life. If I was to go through a trial by enduring a lost dwelling and possessions, let it be so. It doesn’t alter my faith at all. When you have an eternal perspective, the temporary circumstances of my life gain their proper position. Now I’m not as strong as Paul who said of his trials, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) but his kind of attitude is my daily goal to seek and try and reach.
I think of Daniel 3 and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing in front of King Nebuchadnezzar, and they said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16b-18).
The furnace was a room sized furnace you know. Picture the men shoveling coal into the Titanic’s room-sized boilers, and that was what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were facing. These furnaces were searingly hot. They were so hot that when the King ordered the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter, the men who were ordered to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego inside were instantly killed by the heat.
Facing that, they did not waver. They did not say, “We are faithful and therefore He will not let us come to harm.” Their prayer in the face of a fiery trial was strong, with the proper perspective of understanding that it may not be His will to allow them no harm. It didn’t alter their faith one bit. He knew He would cover them, but if He didn’t, that was OK too. God is still sovereign.
“The proof of conversion is that he who professes faith in Jesus perseveres in faith and grows in sanctification throughout his life.” ~Paul Washer
That proof is the perseverance in faith especially when storms are ripping through, when death or loss or injury come, when we can say of this trial or that one, “Lord grow me in sanctification so that You are pleased with me.” Sing praises to Him who saves, in the calm and in the storm. Their faith was startling to the King, and Nebuchadnezzar replied in a fury. But when God chose to show Himself in the furnace the men said to the King, “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25).
The King then did what? Praised God. “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” (Daniel 3:28-29)
When the storms come, sing louder, knowing that He is sovereign, and all things are working for the good to those who love Him who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Perhaps your purpose in your trial is simply to sing praises to him, louder than the storm, so that others may hear and believe.