Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  “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”  ( Daniel 3:24-25 )

God’s presence with the three men in the fire not only freed them from the restraints that bound their arms, but it also protected them from what should have killed them. In addition to that, because of what the king witnessed when seeing them walk around, he told his guards to release the men. Thus, God’s presence delivered the men out of the fire as well. God’s presence is powerful. It brings comfort, protection and deliverance in the most trying of times.

There is a lot of confusion today between the connection of obedience to blessings. Many believe that they are entitled to all blessings of God.  Although God blesses all (that’s His nature), the “promised” blessings are tied to our obedience to Him.

We live in a rewards-based culture, and that mentality has drifted into the Christian worldview in many ways. However, many people were bad off in the tangible world before they obeyed, even though they had worldly rewards.  Our obedience leads us to spiritual blessings in Christ. After all, Jesus’ obedience led Him to a cross. It is only when we align our understanding of obedience with God’s overarching sovereign hand of purpose (and even pruning) that we will be able to approach go through our challenges with faith, trust and dignity, rather than doubt. Far more often than not, the proof that you are on a divinely-designed journey will come from the realization of God’s presence in the midst of difficulty. It will not come from the immediate removal of difficulty (although that can occur) but rather from the persevering and preserving power given to you by God Himself as you go through life’s challenges. God didn’t keep Daniel from the lion’s den; He met him in it. He didn’t keep Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace; He joined them in it. He didn’t keep Joseph from being a slave to Potiphar; He gave him favor in it. And He met him in the prison as well. The proof in knowing you are where God wants you to be in your challenge is that God doesn’t deliver you from it but rather joins you in it.