I’m somewhat fascinated with the story of Daniel. This guy is oft forgotten in our Heroes of the Faith lists. I guess what I like about him is that everything was against him and he didn’t turn from God. I’m not sure, if in the same circumstances, I could’ve done the same.
First off, he was captured and taken to a country he was entirely unfamiliar with. He was torn away from his family and cast into a pagan culture that defiled everything his culture held sacred. Daniel and his friends were then expected to embrace this system, so violently against their own, under the watchful eye of the reigning king. Talk about a high pressure situation!
But Daniel knew something that had been ingrained in him from his earliest memories. God doesn’t leave us in the midst of hardship. Job, Joseph, and David all give testimony to God being with them at their lowest low and exalting them to big successes. (No, I’m not starting a new health and wealth program…)
Despite the heartache and loss he surely felt, Daniel clung to God. God knew he could use Daniel in a big way in a world so ignorant of its true Creator. So he prospered and became a high-up government official. He had the King’s favor.
Daniel was doing everything right. Honoring the king. Honoring God. Staying true to who he really was. And sure as rain in springtime, enemies are made when we follow after righteousness.
So you know the story- because of a law created specifically against Daniel, he was thrown into a den of lions, albeit hesitantly, by his friend King Darius.
I’m sure a part of him was terrified. The certainty of being torn to pieces- literally- seems like something from a nightmare. And the mental anguish building up to being tossed into a pit of starving lions… I’m starting to sweat just imagining it.
I’m sure Daniel was also hopeful. Remember, this guy saw his friends saved from a fiery furnace. He knew of God’s deliverance. He experienced firsthand His blessing when he flourished on little as a child, and then throughout his life to that point.
God was with Daniel through the most terrifying moment of his life. We see it obviously in the fact that he survived. How would you be after sitting in a lion filled pit all night? Edgy? Insane? Sleep deprived?
King Darius races over and asks the question that is burned into my brain: “Did your God save you?”
That is the defining moment in the account of Daniel. He went through a horrendous trial. One that we can hardly fathom. And he was able to declare before the king that His God delivered him.
Daniel was able to come out of that trial not being jaded or angry at God. He proclaimed God’s faithfulness and glorified His name.
That testimony turned the heart of the king towards the true God.
Part of the test in a trial is whether we will curse God or bless His name. The words may not form on our lips, but can be spoken through our attitude and actions as well.
Trials come. This is as certain as death and taxes. In a life fixed on God, we can see his hand in everything and point the ability to overcome back to Himself. And the world is watching Christians. They have an expectation. They are waiting for failure to cope or our faith to flounder.
I don’t say this to put unhealthy or insincere pressure on you, or me. But it would be foolish to forget that we bear the name of our King wherever we go. We are his ambassadors, proclaiming his message throughout the world.
I’ve known Christians get bent out of shape over bad service in a restaurant. People in leadership who are rude to nurses in triage scenarios. Young men who forget who they really are when confronted with ungodly behavior from peers.
None of these things is like being left to die in lion’s den.
And don’t mistake me- in stressful scenarios we are not at our best. Understandably so. But when we are constantly mindful- not of ourselves, but our God- when these trials come, the Spirit can work through us.
Let’s not sit and wallow in weakness, but use that trial to propel our eyes to Christ. He can and does deliver us. It may not be deliverance from the pain of our circumstance, like Daniel, but He will surely give us the strength to endure.
**Read it for yourself! Daniel chapters 1, 3 and 6 were mentioned in this post.