A few summers ago, I was attending my favorite continuing education event in Estes Park, Colorado when the Fort Collins fires took place. Walking through the streets of downtown Estes, one could see the smoke plumes rising from the fires in Fort Collins. It was a haunting sight to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains enveloped by the smoke from those fires.
Another summer, while in Estes, a fire broke out in the Estes Park area. Some friends and I had been downtown and left to go change for supper. On our way back into town, we found the entrance to Estes blocked off from incoming traffic. They were not going to let any others put their safety in jeopardy.
Fire has this all consuming power to hurt us. A fire can easily get out of control and burn someone. A fire can take away our most treasured possessions in a second. Last night, I was reading Kara Tippett’s book “The Hardest Peace.” In the book, she shares the story of how when they first moved to Colorado, the High Park fires started. In seconds, they had to pack up what they could and leave from their new home. Luckily, they were able to move back into their home. But Kara still found herself cleaning the smoke damage out of her home.
Today in Daniel, we read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (or as the Veggie Tale’s movie affectionately call them Shack, Rack, and Benny). These men are thrown into a blazing hot furnace; seven times hotter than what it should be. In the fire, a fourth man comes to free them. From the text we know that this fourth man has the appearance of God. The three men (Shack, Rack, and Benny) come out of the fire with not a single burn on them.
In this story, I am once again reminded of the power of God. That God is with us in our brokenness. That God is willing to get down and dirty with us. That God is able and will stand in the blazing hot fires with us. God calls us to be God’s servants; servants who too will stand not outside the fire, but are willing to stand inside the fire too.