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.
~ Daniel 3: 16-18
How many of you have ever gone from the proverbial frying pan into the fire?
Finding your voice can certainly be difficult at times. I must admit there have been times when I helped myself to the fire. I have to be real. Some things just will never get better.
I remember the first time a family was unhappy with the church that I was serving. My first thought as the pastor was to ask myself, "Is it me?"
Actually, no! The family had been waiting for the new minister to arrive to see whether they would stick around. I remember visits to the family's home, meetings with their elder, and literally trying out a new study that they had even suggested.
AND THEY STILL LEFT.
I felt just like a failure until a colleague of mine asked, "So, are you ever just gonna let these people go?"
Phyllis was also a new pastor serving the Galveston Central Church who had just recently learned she had bone cancer. It would later take her life, but her words to me would be this, "Find your voice, stop begging, and quit being a people pleaser. People are going to do what they want to do, so why make your own life miserable attempting to do the impossible?"
And then concluded, "Did you see Jesus doing that?"
She wasn't the first person to ask, "What would Jesus Do?"
She did however remind me that some things just are like this.
Sometimes we try to disillusion ourselves by thinking things will get better if we just try harder.
I do believe that by surrounding ourselves with positive people and situations that our life will hopefully be reflective of that to others.
However, I know there will always be war, poverty, sickness and many other things. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time, but to remain faithful at any cost.
In our faithfulness, in the pan or the fire, our faith is truly what keeps us going.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.