Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Your Faith Fireproof?

     My husband and I can’t help but smile and laugh a little when we hear the reading from the book of Daniel about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  We do know that this account of forced idol worship and cruel torture has an awesome, miraculous ending, but our amusement has a lot more to do with our familiarity with the Veggie Tales version still fresh in our minds.       
     The Rack, Shack, and Benny: A Lesson in Handling Peer Pressure DVD is a hilarious, very kid-friendly retelling of this story which is hard to forget.  Truth be told, it’s also amusing to think of the person doing the reading suddenly start referring to these three fireproof men of faith as Rack, Shack, and Benny. 
     It’s powerful to consider these types of questions and scenarios regarding peer pressure, submitting to popular culture, and the effects of standing up for what we believe in.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has spoken out about the violations of religious freedom that are included in the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate. 
    Am I going to believe whatever Obama and his administration tell me? Am I going to check out one news source only?  Am I going to pray at all about this and ask the Lord what He wants and knows is best for us?
     Over the years, I have been faced with a number of tough decisions and have walked with friends who have asked for advice as they’ve struggled with challenging choices.  The best advice I’ve received and can give is to take it to the Lord in prayer.  If you genuinely want to know the truth about something, then humbly come before the Lord and ask for wisdom and understanding. 
     I’ve found this request for spiritual enlightenment works best when I don’t throw in any provisos or quid pro quos about what the answers ought to be or what they should not include (due to my own particular likes and dislikes).  When I’ve been willing to lay my burden on the altar, and without putting any limitations, restrictions, or rules on the request ask what He wants me to do, then He’s usually made it clear.  Sometimes the answers haven’t come immediately as I’d hoped, but they will be received when our hands, hearts, and minds are opened to whatever God wants to share with us.    
     I have been willing to do some very difficult things in order to stand up for what I believe in and have had it made clear to me by the Lord are His will for my life.  That’s not to say I haven’t freaked out when the flames around me are getting higher and higher.  I’ve flipped out plenty of times, but fortunately that’s not been grounds for revoking the free gift of salvation extended to each one of us.    
     Will you be thrown into the fiery furnace for standing by and for God?  Maybe.  Is that a better prospect than being cast into unimaginable heat for all of eternity?  Absolutely!
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