Now that Redding is starting to recover from the fire, I wanted to share with you some stories and insights about how God’s Presence sustains us in the midst of circumstances that are beyond our control to stop.
First, let’s take a look in the Bible about how three men dealt being thrown into an uncontrollable fire, and how they were victorious.
In the story of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego in Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar orders all people to bow down and worship an idol whenever they hear certain music played throughout the day.
These three God-fearing Hebrew men refuse to worship this decree and are thrown into the king’s fiery furnace. The king then orders the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter than ever before, and even the guards are burned to death when they come near to the furnace!
Before the men are thrown in, they tell the king that God will deliver them (Daniel 3:17,18).
They had complete faith in God’s deliverance, no matter the outcome.
Amazingly, after the men are thrown in the fire, the king sees them not only alive and walking in the fire, but he sees a 4th person like the Son of Man walking with them.
The king was awestruck.
This miracle so humbled the king that after the three Hebrews came out from the furnace alive and unharmed, he decreed that anyone who spoke against their God would be destroyed, because “no other god can save in this way”, and he promoted them (verse 29,30).
This is what I witnessed this week. God got so much glory through the lives of those who were able to see the 4th Man in the fire.
Walking In The Fire With Friends Who Lost Everything
Last Thursday, we had a couple over for dinner, whose house had burned down in the recent Carr Fire. The wife had been my intern, and for the last several years, had been one of the primary leaders on our intercessory team here at Bethel Church.
Just before they came over for dinner, they found out that the restriction had finally been lifted, and they could visit the remains of their house for the first time.
As we ate dinner, I realized how strange and sad it must be for a couple that has a gift of hospitality, and has housed countless BSSM students, to now not have a house.
My husband and I began to prophesy hope to them as we ate, and I gave them a prophetic word about new beginnings, related to the date, which was 8-8-18 (In our prophetic culture, the number 8 symbolizes new beginnings). She was so excited because earlier that day, two other people had given her specific prophetic words about “new beginnings”.
We all sat and marveled about the goodness of God as though it was the best desert imaginable.
After dinner, my husband Kevin and I asked if they wanted us to come with them to see the remains of their burnt down house.
No one should have to face this tragedy alone.
As we drove up to their property, it was surreal as we surveyed the burned forestry and ash remains of houses, which only 2-3 weeks prior were beautiful, but now looked like a bomb had gone off.
As we pulled up to their property, we saw a shell of a truck and a lone chimney still standing among the ashes.
As we walked around the foundation, they were showing us where things used to be. We saw the remnants of a pallet of books piled up that she had written, which now looked like a white pile of down feathers.
Amazingly, a few of her china dishes had miraculously survived, which we took as a sign that the fires of life will never destroy her giftings and destiny.
This is when God showed us the power of legacy beyond what our material world can hold.
As we left the site that once was home and held so many memories, her face brightened as she said, “I am so glad you gave me the prophetic word tonight about new beginnings because now we are starting fresh and this message has given me such hope in the promises of God.”
I knew that she had seen the 4th Man in the fire, and that Jesus was with her even if her house was gone.
Their legacy of hospitality, memories, and relationships had all withstood the fire.
Like the three Hebrews in Daniel 3, this couple had encountered God’s Presence, even if things were burned up around them. I know that God will promote them and bring them more favor and influence because their eyes are on the Presence in the midst of the fire.
Showing People The 4th Man Through Our Creative Expressions
My team and I were helping out at the Relief Distribution Center last week, where people who were displaced could get food, toiletries, clothes, counseling, and prayer.
My team and I had gave the adult evacuees “hope cards”, and were offering free face painting, balloon sculptures, and art for the children who had lost everything in the fire.
As I was giving an older man a “hope card” and praying for him and his family, he stopped me and told me that he had lost his trailer in another fire 10 years prior, but that even though he had lost his home again he could sense the love of God because of the love he was encountering from our team.
I realized that God’s love in me and our team had shown him the 4th Man in the fire.
Interestingly, this man did not go to church, and would not have considered himself a Christian, but he had an encounter with God this day because he saw the 4th Man in us.
This man would have probably never come to church for help, nor had an encounter with God, had it not been for us having faith to bring God’s Presence to him by meeting his family’s emotional and physical needs.
Throughout the week, we were able to reveal God’s presence to so many families through the various creative expressions we provided at local outreaches throughout the city.
While we were ministering at one local restaurant that was putting on a free dinner and movie for families who had been displaced by the fire, I was certain that I could sense the 4th Man blowing up balloons and face painting little kids faces as we prayed and comforted a family at one of the tables who had lost all of their possessions.
Some people may think that when we are thrown into the fire we are defeated and left in despair, but when we see the 4th Man in the fire we are filled with hope for our future.
If you are going through fiery trials beyond your control, remember to look for the 4th Man in the fire, and know that He is there and will stand with you no matter what!
And then, when you have gone through the fire with the 4th Man, you can begin to reveal Him to others through your creative expressions to bring comfort and hope to those in the fire.
“Your love has always been our lives’ foundation, your fidelity has been the roof of our world” Psalm 89:4 Message
Remember, you are Born to Create!