My friend, Lynn, has lead several Bible classes I’ve been in. She always says she’s a facilitator, not a teacher.
But I’m not convinced.
I help her with a children’s class where I sit in a small chair with the children around a table. She tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the children who have been restless in their seats grow quiet. We get to the part where these guys are about to get it for not bowing down to that golden idol Nebuchadnezzar has built. This story is getting good, and Lynn tells it well.
“The furnace is so hot, that the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace died from the heat.”
I feel a little flushed thinking about that furnace. These Jews would rather die than bow down to the golden statue. Such courage! I find myself wondering what happens next even though I know the story, but I think about those lines from that old hymn, “I love to tell the story to those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to see it like the rest.” I’m just like the kids and can’t wait to hear what happens. The kids lean in. I do, too.
“So in a moment, Nebuchadnezzar jumps up as he looks inside that furnace and says, ‘Didn’t we throw three men in the furnace, but I see four walking around, and the fourth looks like an angel.’”
Woo, hoo. God sent an angel to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I needed to hear that, cause I feel as if there have been some flames licking at my heels lately.
Lynn smiles and continues, “And when they pulled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of that furnace, their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke.”
Didn’t even smell like smoke? That means I can come through the fire, and there won’t even be any evidence I’ve been in it. I knew that, but sometimes, I forget what God has done. I need to hear the stories again.
We hand out figures of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for the kids to color. I move the figures around on the table. Three men and an angel made it through the fire. God never left them alone. Not for one moment.
So, Lord, I pray that when the flames are hot, I’ll remember you’ll never leave me alone, either.
Maybe friend, you needed to hear that today, too.
And Lynn, thanks for being my teacher.