It’s been said, “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” In Daniel 3, we see an extraordinary group of friends survive both a literal and figurative fire of faith. Their friendship and its impact on their lives can teach us a lot about community.
When faced with certain death, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego together made a decision to honor the one true God. I’d like to think that each of them, as individuals, would have objected to Nebuchadnezzar’s order even if it meant standing alone. But what we see in Scripture is that they stood together as a band of brothers—a community of friends who would not bow to any other god.
In a previous chapter (Daniel 1), these young men had committed together to not compromise who they were, who they were called to be, or who they served. Like they did, when you know you are and you know who you serve, it changes everything. This is what community will help you do.
Daniel 3:27 tells us that, miraculously, the men survived the fiery furnace and ultimately God was glorified. When we face trials, our community of faith can remind us that what looks like impending death or utter despair might actually be the beginning of a rescue, a demonstration of resurrection, or the impetus for revival. In community, we can survive the fires of transformation. Not only that, but our faith will be strengthened as we see God show up in the lives of others.
Bianca Juarez Olthoff is the author of Play with Fire: Discovering Fierce Faith, Unquenchable Passion, and a Life-Giving God (Zondervan). She is also the Chief Storyteller for The A21 Campaign and the Creative Director for Propel Women.
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