a message from Roxie Lee Floyd, Capital District Co-Lay Leader.
Nebuchadnezzar declared: “May the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be praised!”
God shows up in such extraordinary ways every day. On July 19th across our denomination those who follow and use our traditional Sunday Adult Bible Study book read or listened to the story of “Our Always-Faithful God.” The focal passage was from Daniel 3:19-30 and it relayed the story of the three men bound and thrown into the fiery furnace because of their refusal to bow down to the 90-foot-tall statue of King Nebuchadnezzar. The men did not boast, did not shout and did not refuse to go to the furnace, they simply appealed to their God to be with them and take them through the trouble. The three servants of the Most High God came out of the burning fire without singed hair or smelling like smoke. What an extraordinary occurrence.
During this time of racial tension around the world. The lesson was a God moment for me, directing me towards having a voice in the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The author spoke of the commitment and courage of our great brother in Christ, John Lewis, noted Civil Rights leader. He talked about how John Lewis “always felt free and liberated in his heart when he did the right thing.” The lesson written long ago so aptly honored this man of God on the very weekend that he made the transition to his heavenly home.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s fiery furnace experience was hard and may have led to death, yet they were willing to step out on the truth of God’s word. We are the very image of God in the world and when I think of the service of dear brother John Lewis, I truly know that God still sends prophets and leaders to call our attention to our faults and our shortcomings and to invite us to change our hearts and minds. Lewis’s journey in the fight for basic human rights and dignity in America was hard but he dedicated his life’s work to calling us out on how we treat each other and how we create stumbling blocks for others when we choose to ignore God and live with “worldly views”. Let’s make some “Good Trouble.”
We are all recipients of God’s love, grace, and mercy. I hear such hateful speech from those who profess to know Jesus Christ about the “Black Lives Matter” movement and I am left speechless. It feels like a fiery furnace. The author reminded us that during times of trial, we may have to take sacrificial and unpopular positions but, God remains faithful to us if we are living into His truth. We are all going to have to make a decision about the righteousness of the decisions we make as we continue to navigate in the Civil Rights Movement. Are we making a decision for God or for our comfort? Those three Hebrew men (or boys) made a decision for God.
The most powerful witness of faith is when people observe God in us in the hard decisions. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the God of the men in their time of trouble. The miracle at the fiery furnace changed government policy and the social and spiritual course of an empire. God is still a God of deliverance. My prayer is that Christian men and women will begin to pick up and read historical books by men and women of color. Ask God to give you an understanding of their stories. My first recommendation would be the book by John Lewis, Across That Bridge, A Vision for Change and the Future of America. How will you know a man’s plight if you have never listened to his story? I want to see the face of God in everyone that I meet whether they believe like me or not because God has called me to share His gospel TRUTH with all people.