Obedience is a difficult word to swallow for wayward children. There seems to be something deep in our sinful nature that salivates to embrace rebellion. A false sense of control perhaps when we sense injustice at work in our lives.
And God’s children embraced much injustice at the hands of their captors. The book of Daniel introduces us to an effective young leader who demonstrates what it means to defy all odds the world sets against us and live a life of obedience to God. Because sometimes we may find ourselves in unlikely life situations where our true faith and allegiance will be put to the test.
While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
Daniel knew injustice. He was taken as a young man in his teens when the Babylonians invaded his country and, because of Daniel’s knowledge and spirit, he was taken into the fold of the royal courts to train for their purposes. Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den to be devoured as lunch. He received knowledge and wisdom from heaven to interpret dreams and visions. People sought to destroy him. And he saw much and most likely trembled more than most. But Daniel knew- at a very impressionable and tender age that forced him to grow up pretty swiftly- what it meant to let God lead in the most difficult of circumstances.
Most of us have lived through- or are living through- a most difficult set of circumstances. The situation or circumstance may differ from soul to soul, but the obedience required in order for us to successfully see the other side is the same. Injustice can seep into the marrow of our bones like a sickness. When we feel as though we have been dealt a most unfair hand, its easy to turn to despair or anger before we turn to the God who allowed us to suffer in the first place.
It would be good to err on the side of wisdom and stand upon the truth that God already planted: He understands our suffering and will be with us through the fire like He stood with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the burning furnace. He lives through what we live through. And it’s important that we choose to be a part of a community that understands that truth as well.
The people in our village need to be courageous enough to help us turn from ourselves and turn to our God. And we need to be strong leaders for them in return for the circumstances of life don’t define us but they do shape us. And in it all, to Christ be the glory.