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Even though we know our time in mortality will require us to endure the refiner’s fire, it is in our nature to cry out for help when such times come. When the fires burn and the pain seems unbearable, we ask God to save us. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this reaction; God commands us to cry out to him during every season of our life, wherever we may be and through whatever we may be experiencing. However, we can find our faith failing if we are not rescued.
It’s hard to accept, but sometimes God won’t save us. We have the promise of salvation in the end, which can provide us some hope, but there are times when the bitter cup won’t pass from us. We must drink it.
Members of the Church often cite the experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego when discussing the need to serve God whether or not we are delivered from our hardship. The three men asserted their belief that God could save them should the king throw them into “the burning fiery furnace.” However, if God didn’t save them, they would still remain true.
“But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Dan. 3:17-18.)
The three were thrown into the furnace. God saved them. It was a miracle. Yet, there are many accounts of people who exerted the same faith and were not delivered. If you are currently facing the reality of a deeply bitter cup and feel your testimony may not survive it, here are five powerful examples from the scriptures of people who God didn’t save, but remained true. All of these experiences end in physical death for the disciple; while we may or may not face such an end, we can gain strength from their fortitude and determination to serve God no matter what.
The Three Virgins
In the Pearl of Great Price, Abraham briefly mentions an oft-forgotten account of three young women refusing to break from their faith. They lived in a time of sacrifice, where men, women, and children were slaughtered to false idols. Three young virgins, “daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham” were “offered up because of their virtue.” They refused to bow down to worship any idol “therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.”
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