Lenten Reflection Series | Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
There’s one detail to this story that we often overlook: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego sang God’s praises, not after they had been delivered from the fiery furnace, but while they were in the midst of the flames. These three young men were prepared not to be saved. Even before they were rescued from the furnace, they exulted in God’s goodness and glory.
It’s natural to praise God’s greatness after we have been delivered from an ordeal. But what about extolling his greatness while we are undergoing a trial?
Whether God miraculously saved them from the furnace or they perished in its flames, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed that God was worthy to be praised, just for who he is. So too our faith cannot rest solely on miraculous answers to prayer. Trials will come, and we won’t always be released from them immediately. God doesn’t always do what we want how and when we want it done. But even in the midst of these difficulties, we can declare his greatness because he is God and deserving of all our honor and praise.
So how do you do it? Well, you can base your praise on what the Scriptures say about God. He is the Good Shepherd who knows you and is zealously concerned for your life (John 10:11). He is Emmanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). He will never leave you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5). He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-29). Using these passages, you can praise God, even as you are waiting for him to act.
God always hears you and always answers you, even though sometimes you still have to endure the “heat” of difficulties. He is with you when you feel as if you’re in the fiery furnace just as surely as he is with you when all seems right with the world. So thank and praise him for being by your side. Perhaps he will speak to you right then and there. Or perhaps his answer will come much later, and you will recognize it only through the lens of hindsight. Whatever happens, always declare God’s goodness, and it will come to you—in his time and according to his wisdom.
“Lord, thank you for always being with me, even when all I feel is the heat of adversity.”
Enlighten, O God of compassion, the hearts of your children, sanctified by penance, and in your kindness grant those you stir to a sense of devotion a gracious hearing when they cry out to you.