An earthquake shakes the foundation of our security; a tornado blows away a lifetime of treasures; an assassin’s bullet changes national history; a drunk driver claims an innocent victim; a divorce shatters a home. International and personal tragedies make our world seem a fearful place, overflowing with evil and seemingly out of control. And the litany of bombings, coups, murders, and natural disasters could cause us to think that God is absent or impotent. ‘Where is God?’ we cry, engulfed by sorrow and despair.
“Twenty-five centuries ago, Daniel could have despaired. He and thousands of his countrymen had been deported to a foreign land after Judah was conquered. Daniel found himself facing an egocentric despot and surrounded by idolaters. Instead of giving in or giving up, this courageous young man held fast to his faith in his God. Daniel knew that despite the circumstances, God was sovereign and was working out His plan for nations and individuals, including Daniel and his friends.” (From The Life Application Bible)
Centuries later, during World War II, a young man, Franz Jagerstatter, had completed basic training in Hitler’s military army. He had, however, refused to take the required pledge of personal loyalty to Hitler. He was sent back to his farm, but later was summoned to active duty. After having seen Nazi ideology up close and learning of the Jewish genocide, he decided that his loyalty to God could never allow him to fight for the Nazis. He was arrested and sentenced to execution, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. (Our Daily Bread)
It is now 2021. In Mozambique, Africa, Christians are being killed and beheaded by the Jihadists for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
These stories are not fiction but true-life stories of real people in real time who found their God to be faithful and true. Many were tortured, spat upon, imprisoned, whipped, laughed at, and alienated. Counting their very lives as loss for the furtherance of the Gospel.
One such man in God’s Word was Daniel. Daniel’s walk with God started out at an early age when he was taken from his family and placed in exile in a foreign country. Daniel’s future was unsure, to say the least. Away from home, family, spiritual input, and placed in servitude to a godless king, however, “Daniel and his friends took advantage of the opportunities afforded them without letting those opportunities take advantage of them.” Compromise was not a word in their vocabulary.
When a royal edict threatened Daniel’s very life, he did not try to escape or plot a plan to overthrow the king. He prayed! Not just once a day, but three times a day! Talking to his “Father God” was a daily occurrence for Daniel. Praying was not something he started doing because he was in trouble, desperation, distress, or out of obligation. No. Daniel knew that his God was Sovereign, possessing supreme and ultimate power. He knew his God would have the last word. He knew his God was at work in his life as well as all of those around him.
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10)
Prayer was Daniel’s lifeline to his God, and it was a discipline he took seriously. He knew that when everything around him was out of control, his God was the one constant truth in his life. Daniel’s loyalty and obedience to his God defined who Daniel was and all he did. Daniel knew God was in control of heaven and earth, directing the forces of nature, the destiny of nations, and the care of his very life.
“Though everyone around us implores us to go along with prevailing opinion, though our own reputation or well-being may be at risk, may we never turn from our obedience to God.” (Winn Collier)
Are you holding so strongly to your faith in God and His sovereignty that whatever happens in your life or the world, you, like Daniel, will remain faithful, steadfast, unmovable, abounding in God’s Word and prayer?
Maybe, just maybe, we should spend less time worrying about future events and happenings and more time focused on learning how we should live now – today.
Daniel’s Prayer (Daniel 2:19-23)
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
Wisdom and power are his,
He changes times and seasons;
He sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness,
And light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and power,
You have made known to me what we asked of you.”
(To be continued)
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.