Resilient Faith

Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?’Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’ (Dan. 3:13–18). 

A number of years ago I, along with several colleagues, was privileged to hold a three-day seminar in a remote Bible training center. The seminar was attended by 75 minority students from a number of villages in this mountainous area, and stressed Bible teaching and instruction in leading worship. One friend, using her special musical gifting, taught the students how to play the guitar and electric piano, and also introduced them to many new worship songs. We all had opportunities to preach and teach. 

It was a very busy, stretching and wonderful time. We remained on the small campus throughout our stay, and from morning until night were involved in teaching and preaching activities. Our days began early (since the resident rooster was perched just outside our window), and after rinsing off under a cold-water tap, we gathered together for prayer and a meal. Then the meetings began. The students were very attentive and eager to learn. Most had travelled many hours, riding dilapidated buses and walking muddy trails, to get to the school. By the end of the day we were all exhausted, ready to roll under the requisite mosquito net. 

On Sunday, we ministered in a church that has a remarkable history. It all started in Myanmar, when the father of the current elder of the church became a Christian. Shortly after this, all of the man’s livestock (cattle and chickens) died. The other villagers told him that this was due to his newfound faith in Christ (the spirits were angry) and that if he didn’t recant he also would die. A local evangelist encouraged him not to do so, and his faith never wavered. In time God blessed him, and his livestock grew to twice the size of the original herd. His sons all became Christians and one migrated to the village where the church is located. This son was the first Christian in the village and, in spite of opposition, he opened his home up for Christian meetings. The church now has well over 200 committed believers (the entire village only has a population of 600) and meets five times a week for services. 

The students at the school will return to provide leadership for churches such as this; many will plant new ones. 

Lord, I thank you for the strong faith of this father. He did not waver when opposition and hardship came, but remained faithful to you. I rejoice in his faith, reproduced so visibly in his sons and the church that I attended. I ask that you would continue to bless this family and the churches that it has nurtured. I also ask that you would bless the Bible school and its students, many of whom will face similar tests. Enable them to demonstrate such resilient faith. Give them courage so that, even in the face of opposition, they too might declare that you alone are God and worthy of worship. Lord, help me be a person of strong faith as well. Let me not waver, but boldly and clearly declare your goodness in every situation.