Tonight, I experienced something a little difficult to quantify for a reformed, confessional Presbyterian (or, mostly so). The Lord used a medium like Pandora radio to communicate to me something about which I had just prayed (literally!). I’ve spent some of the afternoon considering the nuclear deal the US made with Iran, which seems to be a poor deal. This deal, as some authors have put it, could well lead to another holocaust. Yet, I’m not well trained in political science, so my comments about the deal need stop there. I also heard a news article coming from Wisconsin about a debate concerning the legality of religious clergy being able to claim their housing allowance on their taxes. Not necessarily groundbreaking news. I get it. Yet, when I put those two articles together with the voluminous news concerning Christian persecution around the globe and the rising anit-Christian attitude in the west, I get a little worried. And, as I get worried, I pray. I pray the Lord’s prayer that his kingdom would come and his will be done (Mt. 6:10). I pray the Lord would take my fears and insecurities and so fill me with his Holy Spirit that my fears and insecurities might be swallowed by his strength. After all, his power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). So what does the radio have to do with this post?
I’m going to get baby food ready and I put on Pandora. Mind you, this is minutes after confessing my fears, anxieties and worries about what might come as well as asking for his Spirit to fill me that I might not shrink back when opposition comes. The first song played by my Pandora account is “Burn Us Up” by Shane and Shane. Now, being a Presbyterian means that I believe the Lord actually speaks through his revelation. This means, when people say “I have a word from God for you,” I must make sure it aligns with what God has already spoken in his word. The same is true with song lyrics. But, if you go listen to this song, you’ll see this song comes from Daniel. It deals with the three young men who would not bow to the king and were thrown into the furnace because their defiance (Dan. 3). Of all songs to play, why this one? Well, let me offer what resonated in my heart immediately.
I have a tough time believing these three men were not afraid as they were pushed towards the furnace. I much the same way, I cannot imagine Daniel being totally cool, calm and collected as the lion’s den was shut. Yet, the issue is not their own fear. The strength God provided them in their darkest hour is what resonated deep within my soul. God rescued them. He protected them from the evils they faced. He gave them courage when their courage would likely have failed. He gave them strength to speak and do what God had called them to do despite the threats levied against them. This is what I believe the Spirit of God was communicating in my own soul. When the days of trials come, it will not be upon my own strength by which I’ll stand. If it is, I’ll fail. But, my God, the same God who rescued Daniel and his friends, will rescue me. Will he necessarily rescue me physically? Nope. In one real sense, Paul, Peter and John the Baptist were not physically rescued from their gruesome fates. Yet their glorious and eternal rescue was as sure as Christ’s resurrection. When the days of trial come, I can know that just as God has rescued all those who are his, although not all physically, he will rescue me. Paul says in Colossians 1:13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” See, my rescue is done. Notice the past tense verbs. What a great encouragement. No matter the evils. No matter the trials. The Lord my God is on my side. And with him, I cannot fail because he cannot fail. Hallelujah!
The Lord used a song from Pandora radio tonight to encourage my soul. He confirmed in my own heart how he has not and will never leave me alone. I may be dropped in a furnace, or a lions’ den. If that be the case, I know even there I won’t be alone. How awesome! Let me leave this post with lyrics from Shane and Shane’s song. The following portion is the refrain and final chorus. Enjoy and thank God for his glory and gracious presence.
“You are able to deliver from the fire of affliction
Its the declaration of my Lord
Youre not an image of gold
Youre the God of old
You have made us
Come and save us
We are Yours
But even if You dont,
Burn us up! Burn us up! Burn us up!
Oh king wont you burn us in the furnace of
We give up! We give up! We give up!
Oh king wont you burn us in the furnace of
Wont you throw us in the fire!”