“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2 NIV
I’d spent the morning alternating between worry and prayer. My son Josh is enrolled in a Fire Science degree at a local college and was participating in a dangerous training exercise.
As a volunteer firefighter, he’s been in dangerous situations before—real world and training. A couple of months ago, he went to the fire academy in Columbia, SC, to participate in live propane tank fire training. Yes, these are the large ones—train car size. My nerves were shot that day, as well.
But this particular training day involved a flashover simulator. In the real world, firefighters don’t survive flashovers, so learning the warning signs of one is imperative. In the simulator, firefighters train to detect the conditions and environment that precipitate a flashover. The only way to do this is to create an actual flashover as close to real world conditions as possible. Though the trainees wore special protective gear, the instructors had cautioned them not to touch anything or each other because it would leave a burn where they touched.
So when Josh pulled into the driveway that afternoon, my heart leapt with joy and thankfulness that God had protected him and the other trainees. He was sooty and exhausted, but as I plied him with Powerade, I couldn’t help but ask questions. He hadn’t been burned, so I was excited to hear the details of his day.
“Mom, the thermometer inside the simulator read 1200 degrees. It was the hottest thing I’ve ever felt. Even the air coming through my mask was hot!” His eyes shone with excitement as he recounted the experience. He said it was the coolest thing ever. J I thanked God that Josh had come through it with the knowledge, hopefully, to recognize the warning signs of a flashover.
Ironically, I awoke that morning anticipating this training would be the most dangerous situation Josh would face that day. But all kinds of danger exist for firefighters.
Later that evening, he worked a call where a motorist had somehow failed to see a fire truck with lights flashing on the interstate working a scene and crashed into it. I’m not sure how the driver or his passenger survived hitting something that big at full speed, but Josh was among the crew who cut the guy out of his vehicle before he was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The firefighters in the truck sustained only minor injuries.
Dangers and trials ensnare all of us throughout life. On any given day, we awake with hope for what the day holds. We have no idea if our anticipation will come into fruition or if disaster will strike us or a loved one. So, how do we go about living our fragile, earthly lives with no assurance of a good outcome?
Because of the One who provides eternal assurance.
What an encouraging picture Isaiah created in the verse above to show the faithfulness of our Lord. Isaiah wasn’t referring to physical fire, though we read an account of such in Daniel 3. Rather, his words invoke safety we only experience through a relationship with Christ. Trials are going to come. There will be rivers filled with rapids and waterfalls. There will be fires. Yet, through it all, God never leaves our side. His grace is sufficient to see us through anything. He promises this (2 Corinthians 12:9). The safest place for any Christian is inside the will of God.
What trial are you walking through today? Do you feel as though you can barely keep your head above the raging waters? Or flames are nipping at the hem of your garment as you try to stay one step ahead? I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests.
Have you recently walked through a trial with God’s help? What did you learn about His faithfulness?
© Laura Hodges Poole
Fire image courtesy of think4photop/freedigitalphotos.net.
Waterfall image courtesy of manostphoto/freedigitalphotos.net.