I could say that this certification was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my life. I can’t rank it yet, but it could be running for my top ten all time. I almost gave up, and I haven’t thought of the word quit for the longest time.
This test was a gruelling three-week process of presenting in front of a panel of experts. The board would try to break me with difficult questions and improper behaviour. There were sessions where I’d complete my presentation smoothly, and there were times when I got affected and had to stop. Boy, it was tough for me physically, mentally and emotionally, but I completed it through the grace of God!
When the certification was over, one of the voices in my head said “Why would God let you go through such a nerve-wracking experience? Didn’t you ask Him for help? Do you still believe He is good?”
When I heard this, I ignored it, and watched a video of Joel Osteen right away. It’s very timely that I got his preaching about going through the fire.
Joel Osteen focused on the story of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. These guys were teenagers who refused to bow down before the king’s statue. Because of that, they were sentenced to be thrown into a burning furnace. This was how these kids responded:
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
16 The three men replied, “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. 17 The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”
These teenagers were tied up, and the king commanded his men to heat the furnace seven times hotter. If I were an observer at that time, I would have thought these guys were stupid! Look at them! All tied up and about to die!
However, this happened:
New Living Translation (NLT)
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god[a]!”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
From the time that these kids were arrested, up to the point they were thrown into the fire, I would have thought that they’re done for! Who would have known that God would not allow them to die? What wonderful testimony their story had become!
God could have sent an angel to destroy the king and his men. Instead, He allowed Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego to go through the fire and have a better testimony which leads the king to worship God.
I know I learned a lot from this experience.
If there were a central lesson to be learned in this event, I’d say it taught me to depend on God wholly— to pray constantly for strength and confidence; to cry out to him and lay all my burdens.