In the Midst of the Fire.

I have debated for some time if I should write this blog. I know writing it might offend someone or even a few people. I didn’t want to upset anyone. But, today I have chosen to write a little about being in the midst of a fire.

I have three siblings, we all have the same two parents. We all grew up in the same house, under the same circumstances and lived in the same situations. Economical, geographical and residential. However, we all have different memories of what happened in our home. There are three reasons for that.

  1. Birth order. Depending on our birth order determined what our responsibilities were. What time we went to bed and what we were allowed to see.
  2. Age:  Depending on what ages we were at the time something happened determines how much and what aspect of an incident we remember.
  3. Compartmentalization: is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

So, even though we were raised in the same home, with the same parents under the same circumstance our memories vary. Some of us remember the good only and have chosen to compartmentalize the bad. A couple of us remember the good and every little bitty tiny vivid detail of the bad. From the smell, emotion, and sound of the situation. All etched in our memory as if it were etched on glass. I know none of us are right or wrong based on what mentally we are capable of remembering.

I have some very vivid memories. Memories that cause me to have a prescription of anxiety medication. With the combination of those memories and due to the extent of abuse from an ex-husband I was diagnosed with PTSD. This is not a woe is me, blog post, I assure you.  I will not go into detail about things that happened, But, as a child, I remember lying in bed numerous nights wishing I had a childhood illness that was terminal. Yes, sounds like I was a little girl with big problems. I didn’t want to be sick, however, I didn’t want to be alive either. If I died from disease rather than kill myself I would still go to heaven according to our church. Because we were taught suicide was an unforgivable sin. So, according to my little nine-year-old mind, it was a win-win. Thank God he doesn’t give us everything we ask for. I remained a healthy little girl. I often wondered where was this God we served. This God we prayed to, this God we worshiped. Where was this God we went to church to learn about Twice on Sunday, Wednesday evening, Saturday evening and during revival is was a Monday through Friday gig.

Even as an adult I have found myself in situations, yes some by my own doing, some outside of my doing. Situations that left me sitting and wondering the same thing. God, where are you? Until I was late into my thirties I pretty much wondered this. People would tell me “God will only give you what you can handle!” or “God gives the strongest battles to his strongest soldiers!” I would do the whole eye-roll thing that begins in our tween years and stays with us until we realize we really don’t know anything about anything and our mothers are smarter than we thought. So, I’d say our late thirties. Then reply with “he must think I am superwoman!”  “How strong does he think I need to be I should be able to bench press a Buick by now”. Little did I know even then that the strength had nothing to do with physical strength. Like I said I was the late thirties, so I am obviously a slow learner.

Well, I was reading my Bible a few weeks maybe even months back and remember reading about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel. A story we learn in about primary Sunday school. I read it and went about my day. Eventually putting it to the back of my mind. Then as creepy, odd and almost terrible as it sounds, I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds. Yes, I dig me some Penelope Garcia and Aaron Hotchner.  in this episode, The criminal or “unsub” was an arsonist and murderer, he likes to watch his victims burn. He would start a fire and sit there with them. The screaming, the fire, the wickedness made me think back on Nebuchadnezzar and how he was that “unsub”.  At this point I am like okay Lord, I get it I’ll re-read Daniel three. There is obviously something there I need to “GET”. I mean if you’re going to interrupt my Criminal Minds episode (wink, wink).

I re-read it again, and again. There it was as plain as day….. Daniel 3:25-27

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the highest God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

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All the times I was asking where God was. He was there the whole time. See, things happened to me as a child. Things happened to me as an adult. Things happen that are cruel, unfair and unjustified. Things have happened to my daughter at the hands of people who were never punished for their acts. But sometimes God leaves us in the fire. Not because we need to be in the fire, but because someone else needs to see him walking in the midst of our fire. We know that everything we do is supposed to be used to glorify God. This includes everything we endured, we’ve witnessed, every little bitty thing we don’t want to remember and everything we plan on doing.

Reading along further into verses 28 & 29

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

They were in the fire, they had faith, they came out without even the smell of smoke on them. It’s so hard to see that other person when you’re in the midst of the fire. The heat and smoke of the fire alone are enough to hinder our view of God. So, from one woman to another I challenge you today if you are in a fire and you are being engulfed by it, take a deep breath, pray and look around. Because I can promise you here is there in the midst of it with you. You will come out unsinged with a testimony that will help someone else.

Remember to keep your coffee hot and your prayers hotter.

Hollie McCalip

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