The Bible shows a pattern in the lives of all God’s people. In case after case, when God began to fulfill his promises, the roof seemed to cave in.
Think of Daniel, a handsome, gifted young man who was chosen to serve in the king’s palace (see Daniel 1:3-6). He pledged himself to a life of holiness and separation from the world and was promoted because of his excellence. “Then this Daniel distinguished himself …. Because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6:3). But devious men became jealous and devised a plan to destroy Daniel, resulting in his being thrown into a den of lions. God intervened and delivered his servant by shutting the mouths of the lions!
Think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three exceptional young men who were brought to the king’s palace, where they were made leaders in the government. However, when the king commanded that everyone bow before his false god, they refused and were immediately bound and thrown into the fiery furnace that was prepared for them. All seemed lost until the Son of God showed up in the fire and delivered them!
And think of Elijah. God gave him a glorious promise of a spiritual awakening in the land, of an outpouring of abundant rain, and a new day of victory for God’s people. Wicked Ahab and Jezebel were to be overthrown and peace was to rule over the realm. But Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life, the prophets of God were killed, and the land continued in wickedness and drought. Elijah felt alone and confused before the promise was fulfilled. Read this account in 1 Kings 18 and 19.
Do not be deterred by adverse, confusing circumstances in your life. One does not go from the prayer closet directly to some mountaintop victory. You may have to go to the lions’ den, or the fiery furnace, or the valley of confusion. But do not despair! God is sovereign and the Shepherd is still leading. Your suffering and confusion will give way to a faith that will never fail — a faith that has been tried, as gold, in the fire of adversity.