Baked Alaska dessert set alight. Image by Vxla on Flickr. CC BY-2.0

Baked Alaska is one of those desserts that seems like it will end in disaster.

This dessert involves covering a core of ice cream and cake with meringue and baking it at 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Really.

Who puts ice cream in a hot oven anyway?

Surely it will result in a melted mess, and you’ll be spending the next hour resentfully scrubbing out your oven.

But Baked Alaska will surprise and amaze you.

When you take this dessert out of the oven after a few minutes, you find that the meringue has cooked and slightly browned, but the ice cream underneath it is still cold and has retained its firm shape. The ice cream inside the “igloo” has remained untouched by the intense heat.

It seems miraculous, because you’d think that ice cream would melt when it came anywhere near temperatures that high. It’s not actually a miracle, however, but rather a clever application of physics. The dessert was invented in the 1800s by American physicist Benjamin Thompson, who was investigating the insulating properties of whipped egg whites.

If you want a genuine example of miraculous protection from a hot oven, you need to go the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.

Perhaps you remember the story. Some of the ancient Jewish people had been conquered and taken to Babylon. They were trying to stay true to their God while living in exile.

Three of them, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were trusted enough to have positions of authority. But this aroused the jealousy of some native Chaldeans, who set up a trap for them.

They convinced King Nebuchadnezzar to issue a decree that everyone must fall down and worship his golden image. And the penalty for failure to do so?

Being cast into a fiery furnace.

Sure enough, when it came time to worship the golden image of the king, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. They told the king:

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

Infuriated, the king ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than normal. It was so hot that the soldiers who cast the three faithful Jews into the fiery furnace were themselves burned to a crisp.

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

But what happened to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?

They remained cool as cucumbers. Literally!

The king was astonished. He asked his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” He was told that they certainly had.

He said, “Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” (Daniel 3:25)

Far from killing them, the intense fire had had no effect on the three men. Their clothes and hair hadn’t been singed, and there wasn’t even the smell of smoke on them. In fact, the only thing that had burned up was the ropes that had bound them.

And the miracle doesn’t end there. The king saw a fourth man in the furnace with them. This was either an angel or the pre-incarnate Christ.

What does all this tell us?

That when you remain faithful to God during trials, He will be with you in that fire. He will insulate and shield you from the worst of it. He will cover you with His protection and presence.

You’ll come out rejoicing and worshipping Him, your testimony will have an impression on others, and you’ll leave behind the things that had you bound.

The best protection from the fires of life is the Lord your God!

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:2

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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