"Look, he answered,
I see four men loose,
walking in the midst of the fire;
and they are not hurt,
and the form of the fourth
is like the Son of God."
Stopped in to a local restaurant for breakfast this morning and ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in years. I love this guy. He is so kind, so friendly, so funny, so everything - except saved. He doesn't know the Lord and his resistance is up pretty high to the truth of the Gospel. He wants to pick and choose what to believe and toss out the rest. The problem with that is, that makes him god, and God doesn't share His glory with anyone. So, I pray for him and wait for the opportunity to witness to him. Here came God, this morning, answering that prayer of my heart. It has been over 10 years since the Lord made a way for me to speak to my friend about the Lord. But, here, today, out of the blue, when I wasn't even thinking about it at all - here, came the Lord opening the door that has been bolted shut for so long...
We chatted quite a bit across tables in a busy restaurant, eating and laughing and enjoying a beautiful summer day. I was relaxing and taking my time, sipping my coffee and laughing at my friend's jokes. It was an extremely light and funny encounter, as it usually is with my friend. He loves to make people laugh, and I like to oblige! Who doesn't love a little laughter to lighten the day?
Now it was time for me to leave and get on with my day. I had an agenda, you know. I had to get busy... This wasn't really part of my agenda. I had more important fish to fry. Or, so I thought...
Moments away from saying goodbye to my funny friend, he suddenly stood up and joined me at my table, seated himself across from me and looked straight in my eyes to hold my gaze. He began to unravel a story of near death at the mercy of an out of control fire that broke out in his apartment, recently, in the middle of the night as he was sleeping. He had awakened suddenly to see orange flames dancing around him and the bed he was lying on. He realized the air conditioner electrical wires had ignited the fire and ran over to disconnect it from the wall. That wasn't going to happen. The electrical wires had melted in the red hot flames of the fire.
Calling 911, throwing water on the fire, coughing from the thick black smoke that he was now breathing, he did what he thought was necessary to control the fire. I looked at him with stunned eyes. He should not have been sitting across from me, telling me this story. He should have been dead...
When the fire department arrived within minutes, they insisted that he leave and wondered that they weren't carrying him out as a corpse. He lived to tell the story, against all odds...
I stared at him with open mouth at the miracle God had done for him in bringing him through the fire, alive. I believe there was One "walking in the midst of the fire, and the form of Him was like the Son of God..." Daniel 3:25
With tears streaming down my face at the mercy of God, I asked my friend if I could say a prayer with him. So it was that there in the middle of a crowded restaurant, we bowed our heads and thanked God for His protection and great love for my friend who narrowly escaped the flames of death.
There it is, you know. God, who loves him, rescued him from certain death. He is still chasing my friend to finish the job. He is trying to awaken my friend from the sleep he has been sleeping, in the middle of flames encircling him to kill him and keep him in the fires of hell forever. This was such a wake-up call for my dear friend. Wake up, sleeper! You are in grave danger! "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Open the door and I will surely come in and eat with you..."
I wonder when we get to heaven, if God, our Savior, Rescuer from the Flames, will show us a video of the many, many times he rescued us from certain death. I wonder if we will see, even in hell, the desperate cry of our Savior, pounding on the door, calling out to us - "Open the door, while you have breath. Oh, how I wanted to rescue you. But you left the door barred. I begged you to open the door. But, you would not... You would not... You would not..."