If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. – Daniel 3:17-18
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were given a choice of life or death in the fiery furnace, they faced their fears and rested in the sovereignty of God. They knew the Lord was fully able to deliver them – and He did – yet they were prepared for anything. They determined to lean on Him and worship Him no matter what.
Living may be the one thing to which we cling the tightest. The instinct to survive is good in itself, but an obsession with living can expose our soul to perhaps the most destructive fear – the fear of death. Jesus came to set us free from this fear:
… that through death He (Jesus) might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. – Hebrews 2:14-15
There is a powerful solace in a yielded approach to our life and death. Consider Paul’s holy abandon in Acts 20:24, when he was being warned that evil men wanted to take his life:
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
In the TV series, The Band of Brothers, an incredibly brave soldier was asked how he did it. He responded, “You have to fight like you’re already dead.”
If you’ve read my book, My Stronghold, you may remember my doctor predicted in 2003 that I had just days to live with Stage IV metastatic melanoma. I describe how I bounced in and out of bold surrender and gripping fears. So trust me, I know yielding is extremely difficult, more like impossible, but it is definitely doable with God’s grace.
I know this is a hard message and may strike some readers as icy cold and inappropriate for people who truly are on the brink of death. But I’ve been there and learned the secret of surrender and peace in the face of death. During those times, when I was open to life or death, my spirit and soul were never freer. Plus, for those who are in Christ (learn more about how), being on the other side will not be such a bad thing! 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Lord, help us surrender to your sovereignty and grace no matter where we journey.