God sees further than we do

The Doctor's Life Support for 15 July

Therefore we do not lose heart … For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4: 16–17

Those watching Daniel and company inside the fiery furnace could see with them a fourth figure. In my own day I’ve seen heavenly light shining from the face of a dying woman as she expressed her great desire to glorify her Lord, despite many unanswered prayers for her healing. Yet were those prayers unanswered? God’s ‘No,’ or ‘Not yet,’ are answers as well as his ‘Yes.’ In his good time, my friend had been healed of the fears and anxieties which lay behind the prayers for cure. She was dying, but her own last prayer was being abundantly honoured. Others have described the radiance of certain Christian martyrs, from Stephen’s day until now. (Acts 6: 15) Jesus himself has drawn near and walked with them, until it was time to go home. It is often in the furnace that he reveals his enabling presence to a watching world. Daniel’s friends had confidence in God’s ability to deliver them from the flames, but even should he not do so, a painful death would not conquer their faith in him. (Daniel 3: 18) Their murderer would have lost the power struggle, because it is those who endure to the end who receive the crown. (Revelation 2: 10) Just as Easter Day followed Good Friday so, for all God’s people, resurrection will finally follow crucifixion, whatever form this has taken. The outcome of our trials is in his hands and we can confidently leave it there. Eventually, every knee will bow and every tongue confess him Lord (Philippians 2: 10–11) – and some in that company may first have believed when they saw him walking beside us, even in the flames.

Written by Janet Goodall from the UK

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