It was 5:30 am on July 16, 1945.  The desert plains of Alamogordo, New Mexico were quiet until suddenly there was an explosion.  And not just any explosion, but one equivalent to 21,000 tons of TNT.  The 40,000 foot wide mushroom cloud marked the beginning of the nuclear age.

Nicknamed the Trinity Test, the nuclear explosion was so hot that it melted the desert sand into glass.  The fragments above (called Trinitite) are samples of this glass.  They are still dangerous today due to the radioactive isotopes embedded in the glass.

I’ve been thinking about trials recently.  When we talk about trials certain phrases are often used – “refiner’s fire” or “furnace of afflictions.”  In the book of Daniel we come across the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and their refusal to worship a golden idol set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.  Although they knew that disobeying the king meant facing the consequences – in this case being thrown into a furnace – they chose to obey God.

Their incredible faith was evidenced in these words: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.”  Powerful words when you are facing down the king.  But I think their next words showed that they truly understood faith – “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  They were willing to do what was right, even if God chose not to deliver them from their trials.

We will all be called upon to walk through fiery trials, there is no doubt about that.  The only question is whether we will emerge bearing the toxic remnants of our doubt and sin or whether we will emerge pure and clean.