Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No Smell of Fire

Several months ago I read through the book of Daniel. I still enjoy reading the old Bible stories, but sometimes my familiarity with the stories causes me to overlook some of the lessons that God wants me to learn. I am learning that whenever I miss the lesson, God will eventually lead me back.

That was the case with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. The story of their trial is told in the third chapter of Daniel. If you do not know the story, you should probably read it. Go ahead, I will wait here for you....

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego's refusal to acknowledge the king as a god and bow to his figure has lead them to face their trial. The king has them bound and thrown into a fire that is so hot that the soldiers throwing them in died. However, when the king looks into the fire, he sees four men--not just the three who were thrown in. I personally believe that the fourth man was the Lord. What I get from this is that the Lord does not just lead us to our trials and then abandon us to flounder around on our own. He is in there walking with us through our trials.

I also noticed that although the three men were bound by soldiers before being thrown into the fire, that the king sees them walking around loose in the fire. These past two years there have been times that I have been frustrated by the restrictions that I now face. Although they were bound when thrown into the fire, that same fire burned off the bounds, and now I realize that there are times that God does not use our trials to bind us but to set us free from that which has us bound.

Once the king tells the men to come out of the fire, all of the high officials gather around. They notice that the men have been so protected from the fire that no physical harm has come to the men or their clothing. Then the officials notice that there is not even the smell of fire on them. That is the way with my current trial. If you were to meet me on the street, you would not be able to tell that I have lung cancer. Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, the only way you would know my story is for me to tell you. Here we are thousands of years later, and we still know the story of these men. The only way other people will know of our trials and what God has done, is if we tell them.

The last thing I noticed is that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego's lives were never the same. My Bible says that the king caused them to prosper in the province of Babylon. Had they not gone through this trial, they would not have received the blessings that came after. Sometimes I think that I would just like to have my life back to the way it was, but then I wonder what blessings I would miss out on if I was not going through this trial.

An old story has taught new lessons that are leading to a story to be told.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lessons from a Dead Battery

I have gotten bored riding my fixie around the neighborhood and decided that it was time to venture outside those bounds. This Saturday morning I felt that the time was right to get out and hit the roads for a little ride. Since I had not ridden my road bike for several months, I had to re-inflate the tires and find all of my bike riding stuff. Once out the door, I walked my bike down the walk to the street. As per my usual routine, I pressed to bike computer start button to begin tracking my ride distance and speed. A blank screen looked back at me. Using my astute engineering mind, I pressed the button a second and third time, expecting a different response. Nothing. Realizing that the battery was dead, I decided that I would just ride and enjoy the ride and not worry about how fast and how far I was riding.

As I rode along, I would instinctively look at the computer to check my progress. It finally hit me that this morning that, although I knew my destination, I would not know how far I had come, how far I had to go, or how fast I would get there. I am still surprised when, where, and what God uses to teach me a lesson. But through that dead battery came a lesson about fighting cancer. My fight against cancer is much like my situation this morning. I know my destination, but I do not know how far I have come, how far I have to get there, or how fast I will get there.

As I pedaled along, I realized that this cancer fight is not that much different than living life. On the timeline of my life, I know my final destination but not how far I have come, how far I have to go, or how fast I will get there. Other than being confident of my final destination, that isn't much different than everyone else. None of us can know how long our journey on this earth will be. No one is promised tomorrow. All we can do is lock down our final destination.

I am praying that you have the assurance of knowing your final destination.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


There have been a few nights lately when I wake up and have been unable to go back to sleep. I will toss and turn, and with each flip another question will come to mind: "How long will this medicine work? Will I live to be 55 or 105? How come the medicine has been so effective for me? Will I know if the cancer comes back?"

As I think about these questions, I realize that they all have one thing in common: uncertainty. As long as I can remember, I have known my plans--where I would go and what I would do. I do not do well with uncertainty. Now it seems like there is nothing certain. There are no answers for the questions that swirl through my mind.

At times my life seems to be a storm of uncertainty. But in that storm, there is One that I can turn to that is certain. He continues to walk with me and guide me through this mess. He has lifted me up and placed my feet on solid ground. He knows where I have been and where I am going before I do. I am thankful that Jesus is here to calm the storm.

What about you? Do you have anyone that you can turn to when the storms of life threaten to pull you under? If not, seek out Jesus.