Three men are thrown into a “fiery furnace,” because they refused to worship the god of the Babylonians, as we are told in today’s first reading. A painfully beautiful story of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego, the three young men who are praying inside a white hot furnace, and God heard their prayer, allowing them to walk OUT of that furnace completely untouched by the flames.
God is right in the middle of our many “fiery furnaces.”
- This pandemic and furnace of loneliness
- A broken relationship in the furnace of betrayal
- So many people suffering poverty in the furnace of injustice
- Those who aren’t White living in the furnace of racism
- Countless women experiencing the furnace of harassment and sexism
- People of privilege living in the furnace of indifference
Yes, God is right in the middle of all our “hot spots,” the many ways we suffer the heat of pain, exclusion, injustice and sinfulness. Those three young men came out of the furnace unharmed because they surrendered to the God of love who was present right inside that furnace.
God is always with us, within us, especially when life can become painful and “hot.” We just have to turn to this God in prayer, as he lifts us up and out of the furnace. Not destroyed by the flames of suffering, but stronger.