September 19: Daniel

Read Daniel 1:1 – 6:28

Imagine growing up with a silver spoon in your mouth only to be taken captive and sent to a foreign land.  Your name is changed and you are given food to eat that goes against the laws of your faith.  Forced to study the history and teachings of another country to be used in the service of their king, only later to be told that you are to be killed because the king is upset that you can’t read his mind!  Next you get cooked alive in a furnace, thrown into a den of lions to be eaten alive, and finally betrayed by those who are supposed to be your subordinates in order to have you killed.

Now, imagine a second scenario.  You are a faithful servant of God, and God sends you to another country to learn the language and history of the country.  You are given the opportunity to interpret dreams of very influential people and in doing so rise to the highest ranks in the kingdom.  Even though a new king comes to power and requires that everyone worship a statue he made,  you hold fast to your faith and because of it God performs a miracle to keep you alive not once but on three separate occasions.  In the end God shows you wonderful visions of things to come and you go down in history as one of the great prophets of the bible.

Of course we know that both of the accounts above describe the same person’s life from different angles.  I wonder if you had lived in Daniel’s shoes, how would you have told your story to others?  Would it sound more like the first account I described, or the second?  The amazing thing about Daniel is that in the midst of circumstances that surely would be enough to overcome most of us, he held fast to his faith unwaveringly.  If Daniel ever doubted God, if he ever cried out and questioned God, it isn’t recorded in the bible.

Daniel was a man of prayer.  Through every trial he prayed and always believed that God could bring him through, but whether God did bring Daniel through or not seemed almost unimportant to Daniel.  Daniel would serve God and trust Him no matter what.  Daniel could have become bitter; he could have looked at his life as a string of unfortunate circumstances.  But instead, Daniel chose to believe God for the things that only God could provide, and because of his faith, God showed Daniel wonders.

Maybe the next time you find yourself in a difficult circumstance, rather than complaining about the hardship you have to endure, think about Daniel and ask God what opportunity He might be offering you if you will choose to see it from God’s perspective.