Read: Daniel 3
When Polycarp (AD 69-155), who was bishop of the church at Smyrna, was asked by Roman authorities to renounce Christ if he wanted to be released, he said, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” The Roman officer threatened, “If you do not change your mind, I will have you consumed with fire.” Polycarp remained undisturbed. Because he would not renounce Christ, he was burned at the stake.
Centuries before that incident, when three young Hebrew men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (these were their original Hebrew names) faced a similar threat, they answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, …our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods” (Dan. 3:16-18). A similar experience but two different outcomes. Polycarp was burned alive, but Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah left the furnace unsinged.
Two different results but the same display of faith. These people showed us that faith in God is not simply faith in what God can do. But it is the belief that God is God whether He delivers or not. He has the final say. And it is our decision to choose to follow Him no matter what. Faith is not based on deliverance. Life may be hard, but God is good all the time. Remember that God has not promised us still waters, but He has assured us that He will be with us through the storms.