We all come to the table with our own biases. The way life looks like through our experiences and interactions. We form our beliefs from the environment we were raised in and whether or not we want to continue down that path or forge a new one. Every person has their own story. Every soul has their own perspective. Every heart beats for different things.

But at the core, we are all the same. We are all human. We are all flesh and bones. We were born into this world and we will someday pass on. We are imperfect beings. When we start to look into our hearts, thoughts, and emotions, things start to become more complex. All of a sudden we look different than the person next to us because of the way life has shaped us.

We were made to be in communion with one another. We were created to work together. We were designed to create art within the walls of life with the color pallets each of us were given. But as we get older, life shapes us. Our reactions to our surrounding environment determines how thin or thick our skin is. Circumstances in life either soften or harden our hearts. Sometimes even the most promising looking seeds sown into our lives eventually produces weeds if we’re not vigilant.

I join the masses of voices when I say this year hasn’t been the best. It’s been a trying year. It’s been seemingly one battle after another. It’s been tough, and it’s forced our hand one too many times.

There’s a song that’s become my anthem for the last few months of 2020. It’s called “Another in the Fire”. The first few lines go like this:

“There’s a grace when the heart is under fire
Another way when the walls are closing in
And when I look at the space between
Where I used to be and this reckoning
I know I will never be alone

There was another in the fire
Standing next to me
There was another in the waters
Holding back the seas
And should I ever need reminding
Of how I’ve been set free
There is a cross that bears the burden
Where another died for me
There is another in the fire”

I don’t know about you, but this year has felt like a refining fire. Like the type of refining fire that diamonds go through. It’s shown our true colors, it’s brought out raw and honest emotions from most of us. It’s caused more hurt than good. It’s brought more division than unity. When the world went into quarantine, it was like I went into a sort of “energy-saving mode”. As time passes, the lack of relief is like a lack of water. As the year goes on, the fire continues to rage. More things are being added, the fire is being prodded. Sparks fly… brush fires start… there’s no water to douse the flames… we blink and everything around us is worse.

There are three men in the Bible who come to mind as a parallel. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel Chapter 3 were thrown into a blazing furnace at the command of king Nebuchadnezzar. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to the king and therefore denounce their faith in God. They had faith that if they were thrown into the furnace, that God would protect them. Daniel chapter 3, verses 16-18 reads like this:

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Did you catch the power behind what they just said? They had faith that God would deliver them from the punishment of being thrown into the furnace. But if He didn’t? THEY STILL BELIEVED IN THE GOODNESS AND FAITHFULNESS OF GOD.

Let that really sink in for a moment….

In a year where we are in what seems like a never ending battle, let us not lose the connection and the relationships we have with one another. Let us not allow the bridges that are built between us get burned up in this fire. Let us not allow the sparks to harm those around us.

There is Another in the fire… Standing next to us.
There is Another in the fire… Holding back the seas.
And should we ever need reminding of how we’ve been set free.
There is a cross that bears the burden, where another died for us.

No matter what this year looks like for you, God is with you. If He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, be sure that He is with you during these times. There is a level of grace that is attainable even when the world around us seems to be caving in. There is a level of peace that can be found among all of the uncertainty this year has brought. There is a level of love that can be extended to those around you – relief from the heat of the fire.

This year, we have such a unique and tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus. There is so much pain, uncertainty, and division around us, that the Light we carry is more visible than ever. The Living Water brings relief in such a tangible way. The very presence of God is so evident – when we’re being intentional.

Nebuchadnezzar was so divisive and so set in his own ways.. and yet, he was the one who pointed out the fourth Man in the fire.

Be encouraged today to continue to stand firm in the love of God. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Don’t lose sight of the finish line.

If you’re consumed by the fire that is this year, I encourage you to find a quiet place where you can be still. Invite the Lord to be there with you. Just rest in His love and peace. Allow the Lord to speak to you. Allow Him to comfort you. Rest in His arms. Find comfort in knowing He’s never left you. Allow Him to fight for you. When you leave that space, invite Him to walk with you.

If you need someone to pray with you, reach out to a pastor or a trusted friend. If you don’t have anyone you can go to, you can come to me. We’re in this together. We’re all imperfect humans walking through life. Let us walk together and fight together. Let us support each other through the good and the bad.

There’s still a few months left of this year. We can choose to continue down this path of destruction and division, or we can choose to change our perspective. We can choose to meet in the middle and see each other for who we are. We can acknowledge that there’s another One with us in the fire and trust in Him.

This year is going to end on a good note. Are you with me?

Peace and Love,
Lauren K. ❤

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