As a child, I loved to read a book we had about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which we hear in today's First Reading. (Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95) Perhaps it was all the names that I found interesting, but it was also the story itself that left a powerful impression on me. The three boys refuse to worship an idol despite the king's command, and they are bound up and thrown into a hot furnace. However, when the king looks in, he sees not only the three boys he thew into the furnace, but also a fourth. An angel of God is present with them and they walk about freely and unbound without the flames harming them. The king then offers praise to their God because of this miracle.
As I reflect on today's First Reading today, I find it interesting that God does not rescue the young boys before they are thrown into the heat. Instead God shows up there with them in the furnace and they are free and remain unharmed.
The prayer of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is very powerful. They pray for God to save them from being thrown into the fire, but even if their God will not save them in this way, they still refuse to serve any false gods. Their faith in His ability to save is so great, but so is their faithfulness to stay true to God even if He doesn’t deliver them.
I want my prayer to be like that too—believing that God can save me. But even if He does not rescue me in the way or timing that I want, I still will remain faithful to Him because He is ever faithful to me. Perhaps that kind of prayer invites God to work in powerful ways and perform miracles that would not otherwise be possible.
Jesus says in today's Gospel, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31) The boys of the First Reading are a powerful witness to courageously remaining in the truth and being a true disciple of Christ. Their faithfulness in truth is what leads them to freedom.
Even if in your life circumstances you may sometimes feel that you too are being thrown into the fiery heat, stay true and faithful. God is with you. He is faithful. He will not allow you to be harmed.
Mary Catherine Craige enjoys spending her time creating art, writing, and playing her Irish harp. She uses her experience as a Montessori teacher and catechist to serve young children through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. As a life coach, she encourages and challenges women in all walks of life to more deeply discover their purpose and live their full potential. You can find out more about her here.