Hope in Times of Trials

A little bird was flying south for the winter, but the air became so cold that it began to freeze and could not get to a warmer climate. After some time, the little bird finally collapsed in a large field where a herd of cows were grazing. Eventually, a cow came by and dropped manure of the freezing bird. At first, the bird was very upset until it felt how warm the manure was. Before too long, it began to thaw out and became so excited that it started singing with joy.

A cat happened to be passing by and heard the bird’s  joyful song. He followed it to the pile of manure and started digging until he discovered the little bird and promptly ate it.

There are a number of lessons we can learn from this story. First, not everybody who drops manure on you is your enemy. Second, not everybody who digs you out is your friend. Finally, when you’re in manure, keep your mouth shut.

If we live long enough, each one of us will find ourselves in a situation that seems much worse that we can bear. To follow the story line above, we’ll feel as though we are under a pile of manure. However, if our expectations are set on Jesus Christ and His providential care, we will  not stumble at the thought of going through a time of trial. In fact, we’ll have His hope to comfort us even in what appears to be a hopeless situation.

I love the illustration that we read in the book of Daniel, chapter three, where it says, “Nebuchadnezzar commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire.”[1]

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were in a bad situation. It doesn’t get much worse than being thrown into a fiery furnace – except for being thrown in bound. However, these three young men put their faith in God and gained a tremendous victory.

We read, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They replied to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”[2]

God honored these three young men’s faith by delivering them from the furnace, even while they were still in the furnace. He will do the same for you when you live as a faith-walker, rather than as a faith-talker.

[1] Daniel 3:20

[2] Daniel 3:24,25