Does everyone go through these stages? Because I most certainly do. The poor-me-itis stages, I mean. Maybe I am the only one, but it has definitely been a struggle lately. Sometimes I try my favorite foods, sometimes I watch my favorite TV shows, sometimes I spend too much time on Pinterest. I try those things, even though I know they are placebos. I know that the only answer to help me out of my wallowing and selfishness is to look at the Creator of this world, talk to Him about my problems, and ask Him desperately for His help.
So, I finally did it. I decided to look for people in the Bible who were having way worse times than I am. That’s the antidote – remember your blessings, and look at people who are going through something bigger than you. And, for some reason, I decided on Daniel. Or maybe God did. Yeah, God did.
Last night I worked through chapter 1 of the book dedicated to Daniel. I was mesmerized how the story could strike me as new when I know that I’ve heard it so many times since I was a kid. For those of you who are new to the story, it centers around a few guys from Israel who were kidnapped and taken to Babylon. There is so much more to the story, including a night in a lion’s den. If you want to read more of the story, here is someone’s explanation of it or you can read the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Now, why did it strike me last night? Because, when I was a kid, it didn’t stand out to me that Daniel was a very intelligent young man about the age of making major life decisions. It didn’t matter that he probably had all of the dreams of his future crushed. That he was stripped away from his family, his home, people who valued him and thought the same way, and was placed in a country that despised his beliefs, that wanted to change him and his philosophies, and that didn’t understand why he valued the things he valued.
All of that is a lot more understandable for me now than when I was 10. And the thing about it is that Daniel didn’t wallow. He didn’t get down on himself and mope around Babylon. Instead, he spent his time standing up for what he believed in, praising God, letting God work in him to do the impossible. He let his culture and his beliefs remain unwavering, and yet was able to secure the admiration of those who had captured him.
It is because of Daniel that we have some of the prophesies of the end times. Daniel made a difference in the country of his exile. As impossible as it must have seemed at the beginning, Daniel changed laws regarding religion, he gave accountability to the king, and he honored his God.
I’m not in exile, but I’m away from home. I hope that by the time I die, some of those things will be true about me.
At the very least, I hope to live a life that God counts honorable.