Our trials should make us better, not worse. They should strengthen our character, not diminish it. They should grow our virtues, and amplify our Godward desires, and more prominently display the fruit of the Spirit. We may emerge from them with broken bodies and broken hearts, but should never emerge from them with broken vows, broken honor, broken character.
It’s undoubtedly one of the most-told and best-loved stories in the entire Old Testament. It has all the hallmarks of a great tale—heroes and villains and peril and deliverance. It tells of faithful young men who faced unjust persecution, faithful young men who were sentenced to die a horrific death—to be consumed by flames in a fiery furnace. Yet it also tells how they were unexpectedly and miraculously delivered; how, though they were thrown into the flames bound hand and foot, they walked out of their own accord; how, though they were surrounded by a superheated fire, they emerged unscathed. Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego honored God in life, they were preserved from death.
One of the details never fails to fascinate. After they came out from the flames, the people nearby observed that “the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” These men passed through the fire of the furnace without a single hair being singed, without a single thread being scorched, without as much as a whiff of the smell of smoke sticking to them. They came from the flames just as they had gone into the flames—without the least trace of harm.