It was a tiny little envelope with the words “Courage, Peace and Power” written down one side. There was a scripture reference: Daniel 10:19. Further down were the words “Interesting Reading” underlined for emphasis. You could tell that the envelope had been around for a while. It had yellowed a bit with age, but there was no indication that it had been through a fiery furnace. But it had! I made an immediate connection with the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel (more on this in a minute), and the fire that had threatened to engulf this envelope. You see, it came from Ginny Brown, who had been going through a tub of papers that had been saved by the demolition crew after a fire destroyed her home.
Ginny is lucky to be alive, but she lost much in the fire. Somehow a little cache of sooty papers survived – just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the story of Daniel. You may want to read the book of Daniel, it is a “corker.” Daniel or Belteshazzer (as he was called by King Nebuchadnezzar) and his three friends were Hebrews that had been captured in war and were serving the King N in Babylon. Daniel was out of town for the fiery furnace part of the story. But his pals Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego were asked to bow down and worship a great golden image. They refused because they worshiped only the Hebrew God – our God. So they were thrown in a fiery furnace for their refusal to worship a foreign god. Surely they would be burned up, but an angel protected them, and they were totally unharmed by the fire.
The same is true of this little envelope (AND Ginny). How she came by the papers in the first place is a story to save for another day. The envelope contained a sermon by Episcopal priest, the Rev. H. Ralph Higgins. I’ll save the story of how Ginny came by it for another time, but the sermon was based on Daniel 10:19 reference on the front of the envelope. Here is the scripture: “He (the angel) said, ‘Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’ In the next verses Daniel is assured that from the very beginning, his prayers had been heard.
Isn’t this what we long for from the Lord Our God? We want to know that the Lord hears us when we pray. We want to receive that mantle of courage, peace and power to carry on from the Lord. We long to hear that we are greatly loved and especially that we are safe. Especially during the times that we feel we are being tossed into the fiery furnaces of life. And we all have these times of trial. Like Daniel and his friends, we sometimes feel that we are aliens in a foreign land – being forced to make hard choices. The Lord watched out for them and because they trusted in the Lord, they were saved from some really nasty stuff. And the Lord watches out for us too.
Perhaps we aren’t saved from those fiery furnace times, but we are not consumed by fire. If you remember, Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den. And he survived too. The message for us in this is to trust in the goodness of the Lord and turn to him in all of our trials and difficult times. We will be given courage and peace and power. We will be given what we need to survive those rough times. We trust that the Lord is with us, and that gives us courage. We know that we are loved by the Lord and that gives us peace. We know that the Lord strengthens us and prepares us for whatever we face. And that gives us power.
Trust in the Lord for he hears your prayers. Know that You are loved with a love that is much deeper than anything we can fathom. Turn to him for the power you need to walk the Christian walk.
God bless, Mo. B.+