When I get into a very tense situation, I can feel my body temperature rise, my jaw tense and I know my heart rate goes up. The Daniel of the Bible faced many challenges that caused him to be tense.
Thankfully, as I study Scripture, God always takes me to places where lessons for me to learn jump off the page at me. As I have learned and matured in my understanding of Scripture and how to apply it to everyday life, I love sharing what I have learned with others. The book of Daniel is one of my favorite books. It teaches so much about practical living for a Christian and Daniel is a fabulous example. I love what my commentary says about Daniel himself, “Daniel is distinguished by NEVER having anything negative written about him.” I love this and it really makes me pay close attention to ALL of Daniel’s actions.
One action I love to read about and apply is how he dealt with the king. King Nebuchadnezzar was a very irrational king, odd in many ways. In the second year of his reign, he had dreams which troubled him so much so that he was losing sleep. He decided to issue this crazy order. He wanted not only someone (the wise men, astrologers) to interpret his dream, but to also tell him what he had dreamed and if they could not, he would have them “cut into pieces and their houses turned into piles of rubble” (see Daniel 2:5). Wow! what a narcissist!
Of course there was major push back. The astrologers answered the king in Daniel 2:10, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks!” They went on to say no king in all the earth had ever made such a hideous request.
I love how Daniel responded to this very tense and life-threatening situation. Daniel 2:14-15, “When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with WISDOM AND TACT! ‘Why did the King issue such a harsh decree?’…” (emphasis added). Wow! What can we learn here?
First, we know Daniel loved God. If you read the whole book of Daniel, you see that Daniel’s trust in God, even in captivity, was unwavering. Just before this harsh decree, Daniel had stepped in faith to kindly reject the king’s food and ask for healthier food. It was a process but Daniel acted the same way, with tact and wisdom, asking questions without raising his voice or being demanding or panicking. The definition of tact is “a keen sense of what is appropriate and tasteful.”
The next thing Daniel did was to ask for some time so that he might interpret the dream for him. After being granted the time, Daniel returned to his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and explained the situation to them. He asked them to pray. In fact, he asked for them to “plead for mercy from the God of heaven.”
What happened? God showed up and showed out. We still serve the same God today.
If you live long enough, you will experience some pretty intense situations…maybe life-threatening… or it could be mild like being tense from a cancelled flight. Regardless of the degree of tenseness, I can personally say that God is with us all the time. Scripture teaches that “He will never leave you or forsake you.”
Second, it doesn’t necessarily mean that when you pray that, all of a sudden, things will smooth out because we also see in Scripture in James that trials and tests are to mature and complete us…to strengthen our faith and perseverance. WE can’t always wrap our minds around the situations that cause us to be tense and stressed…but we can certainly learn from Daniel:
1) Don’t let your emotions overtake you and direct your actions. Daniel had such a strong relationship with God that it is amazing to read of his wisdom and tact in very stressful situations. He didn’t seem to lose his head.
2) Daniel didn’t mind asking his friends to intercede on his behalf. He had praying friends.
3) If you read on in Daniel, past the second chapter, you find a very strong prayer life….rock solid is what I would call it.
Point of post:
1) Be intentional about becoming a person of prayer, seeking to strengthen your intimacy with God.
No one can have the “relationship” with God for you…and everyone…can have the same kind of relationship that Daniel had. HE was intentional…..and the same goes for you and for me. We have to want it.
2) We can choose our friends….praying ones. When life heats up, you have prayer warriors to stand with you in prayer.
3) We don’t know when the stressful situations will come or how many will come, nor how long they will last. We can’t control the outcome either.
I personally just encountered a major life storm…one that I sincerely didn’t know the outcome of and it looked bleak at times…but because of my intimate relationship with Christ…I TRUSTED HIM completely with the outcome. It didn’t mean I would have liked the potential outcome, but I know that God is omnipotent and I know that I can’t lean on my own understanding. All that peace in the storm was from years of spending time with God.
As you read on in Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were going to be thrown in the fiery furnace, they knew God would be with them but they didn’t know if they would survive…and they were fine with either ending. I have studied this story so much that for sure when Brewer had his stroke (his own fiery furnace), God brought me to a place of peace no matter what.
I’m gonna keep writing and writing. If I could give away intimate relationships with Christ, I would, but it doesn’t work that way. NO one can do it for anyone else, but I can keep writing and encouraging. Today, I promise, an intimacy with God Almighty is the very best thing you can ever choose to pursue. It is refreshing, reforming and reviving. IT will hold you in the most tense of situations.