THROUGH THE FURNACE.
A kid accidentally breaks the big picture window in his house and tells his parents the truth. They ground him for the rest of his life.
A teenager refuses to go to a party where she knows there will be alcohol and drugs. Her friends start ignoring her permanently!
A man sees someone choking in a restaurant. He rushes over, performs the Heimlich maneuver, and dislodges the threatening food from the person's throat. A few days later the man finds out he's being sued for breaking a rib of the person whose life he saved!
These kinds of things really do happen. People do the right thing and get grounded, or even sued!
But how can that be? Aren't we supposed to be better off if we choose right? Won't we enjoy God's protection and provision if we follow him and do right?
Well, yes. You will be better off if you choose right. You will enjoy God's protection and provision if you follow him and do right. But God doesn't guarantee that you will always escape pain or hardship if you choose right. He doesn't promise that you'll never be teased or grounded-or even sued-if you choose right. But he does promise to be with you and to help you even if you suffer for doing the right thing.
Remember, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the idol King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. That was the right thing to do. But they were still reported to the king (government officials can be such tattletales!). They were still dragged before the king. They were still thrown into the fiery furnace.
But the next time the king looked into the furnace, he saw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-still alive-and someone else who, the king said, looked "like a divine being" (Daniel 3:25). You see, even though Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to endure the terror of being thrown into the fiery furnace, God was with them all the way! And he even brought them out of the furnace without a single blister!
So don't be afraid to do the right thing. You may be teased or grounded or something else. But God will be with you. God will help you. He'll get you through it one way or another.
REFLECT: Are you ever afraid to do the right thing? If not, why not? If so, why? Do you think God understands your fear? Do you think that's a good excuse to do the wrong thing? Why or why not? Does God promise you won't ever have problems if you make right choices? What does he promise?
PRAY: "God, in your Word you say, 'When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you' (Isaiah 43:2). Thank you for that promise. I don't want to suffer for doing the right thing, but if I do, help me to remember that you are with me and will help me."