• Today's Daily Devotion
Faith Versus Fear
THE SMOKE was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The heat so intense, it was like walking into a fireplace. Fear as heavy as the smoke and heat ...

Rev. Joe Smaha, Chaplain/Fire Inspector/Firefighter/EMT/ Hazmat Specialist – Paramus, NJ, Fire Department; Fire Instructor – Bergen County, NJ, Fire Academy; Pastor – Community Church of Paramus


I draw strength from three Hebrew men

THE SMOKE was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The heat so intense, it was like walking into a fireplace. Fear as heavy as the smoke and heat enveloped my heart and mind.

I was a rookie responding to a house fire. As we forced entry and discovered the smoke came from the basement, we worked our way down the cellar stairs while the heat and smoke rose to meet us.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

Descending those stairs of my first basement fire reminded me of my fire academy training regarding the extreme danger of basement fires. With only one way in, or, more importantly, only one way of escape, combined with the clutter and dangerous combustible items often stored in basements, plus the added threat of collapse, I had been told many firefighters’ lives have ended in these basement tombs.

I wondered, What in the world am I doing here? I felt like making a hasty retreat. Instead of surrendering to fear, I did something much wiser—I prayed! “Jesus, I know you called me to be a firefighter and promised never to leave or forsake me. Please give me strength to do my job.” My fear fled, my training took over, and I made it down that smoke-filled stairway. We knocked the fire down, saved that house, and more significantly I learned a vital lesson that day.

Three Hebrew men faced a fiery furnace with no visible way of escape, yet they stood strong in faith before King Nebuchadnezzar. Their example of faith is a source of strength whenever I face dangerous circumstances. I place my faith and life into God’s hands, knowing he is able to save and rescue me. But even if he doesn’t, I have a duty an obligation to do the right thing and fulfill what he called me to do.

I’ve been in many fires and dangerous situations since then, including a number of basement fires, and there is something I remember to do as a result of that day. I pray for his protection, strength, and guidance. You see, my faith is not in my own ability—my faith is in the God of Creation who called me to be a Christian firefighter.


Thank you for listening to my every prayer. My faith is in you, Lord. Thank you that I can rely on your love in the most dangerous situations as well as my normal daily activities.

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