Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Where'er Thy People Meet"1 (Lyrics)
I avoid going to the doctor as much as possible. Thankfully, I haven't had much illness in my life, but when I suspect that something is wrong, I often let it ride, in case it's bad news. I know that's not smart, but that's the way I am.
A few months ago, during a routine doctor visit, my blood pressure was higher than normal, but the doctor wasn't concerned. A few weeks later, I moved to my summer home at a much higher altitude. After I arrived, I didn't feel quite right, and I was worried about that high blood pressure reading, thinking that it might account for my symptoms.
One morning, I read a devotional that focused on the challenges faced by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It's a familiar story. They refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's ninety-foot-high gold image, and he threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace.
Daniel 3:16-18 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O 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 save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (NIV)
Note that their response included, "Even if he does not …". They were willing to endure any punishment that was inflicted.
Their trust was validated. God rescued them from the fire, and King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he commanded,
Daniel 3:29 – Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way. (NIV)
After reading that, I decided that I should be able face my relatively minor furnace, even if it meant further treatment or a hospital stay. I checked my blood pressure. It was higher than it had been two months before, so I threw on some clothes and headed to Urgent Care. I was blessed; there were no signs of any physical consequences of high blood pressure. By the time I left, the reading had subsided to an acceptable level, and the doctor gave me medication to help control it.
This seems like a minor challenge, but it felt like a major one that morning. I had to face my fear of the unknown and trust that God would help me through it. Once I took that step of trust, I calmed down and was able to rest in Him. Then, I remembered His promise to all of us:
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, may we always face our fiery furnaces, whatever they may be, by trusting in Your mercy, goodness, and grace to see us through, regardless of the outcome. Help us to hold tightly to Your righteous right hand and let go of our fears. Amen.