They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. After going through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia, and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. (Acts 14:21-25)
In the Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded his kingdom to worship an image of gold that he made or be thrown into a furnace. Three teenagers, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused, saying they would only worship God and that their God would save them. They were thrown into the fire, and the king saw four men walking amidst the fire and said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the forth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25)
The three teenagers invited God into their hardship, and God sent Jesus to save them. In life, we must go through many hardships to fulfill our dreams and complete our mission. In order to be happy while going through difficult times, we must be like Paul and Barnabas and invite God into our hardships so we can encourage and strengthen others. With God’s power, prayer, and fasting, they were able to return to the cities where they were persecuted and appoint leaders and start churches where people could encourage each other.
King Nebuchadnezzar promoted the three teenagers and praised God because no other god can save. When we invite God into our difficulties and stay happy, Jesus will save us. He won’t save us from hardship, but He will pull us out of it without harm and promote us as he did for the three teenagers.
Father, I praise you for sending Jesus to pull us out of hardships. I am going through difficult times. Be with me in the fire, give me the power of Your Spirit, and send Jesus to pull me out, so I can remain happy and encourage and strengthen others. I give You the glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.