Snarling Lions?

I love those stories that tell about someone overcoming hardship, turning trouble into triumph. I cheer for underdogs, love when the little guy wins, get misty-eyed when love is sweet!  I am also a realist who knows only too well that our world is not always fair, that good guys do not always finish first.  But, my faith in God teaches me that God can turn the darkest night into morning’s glory, that He can take my worst mistake and redeem it to shape me into the image of Christ Jesus.

Jesus made a promise to us- when His kingdom comes the last will be first, the suffering will find healing.  The Great Reversal is shaped like this:  “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” (Matthew 5:2-5, NLT)  “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:10, NLT)  However, I also know that the plot of ‘His-story’ does not always follow the line I desire. 

We need to know the story of faithfulness- God’s and Daniel’s – that is told in that part of the Bible.  It’s the grand account of Daniel in the lion’s den.  When I was about 4 years of age my Sunday School teacher told us the story using cut-out pictures pressed onto a flannel board.  We heard about Daniel’s faithfulness to God, about his prayers, and the terrible people who hated him so much that they conspired to have him tossed to the lions.   She told it with such passion that my little heart pounded with images filling my imagination and a need to know the answer to my question –  “does that good man gets eaten by those hungry lions?”   God did shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel emerged from the danger like a conquering hero.  “Yea!” I cheered.  Faith grew in me and I learned to trust the Lord.

But, now a long way from Sunday School, I see another even more powerful lesson in that story, one that helps me to keep faith when life is full of mystery and pain. God allowed Daniel to enter the lion’s den for a greater purpose. Temporarily, evil seemed to win. He spend a long night alone with lion’s snarling and snapping an arm’s length away! 

But, Daniel’s integrity was so notable, his faith so unquestionable, that even the pagan king shared his hope! “So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you worship continually, rescue you.” (Daniel 6:16, NLT)  “Very early the next morning, the king hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you worship continually, able to rescue you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:19-20, NLT)   When the old man answered from the dim recesses of that pit, the king rejoiced and had him pulled out, returned to a place of honor in the kingdom.

When I was a kid I thought the hero of this story was Daniel, but the glory goes to – yes, Almighty God Who gave the miracle of deliverance.

God allowed His faithful servant to go through
an awful ordeal but the night had a purpose!

Are you living in the lion’s den of life right now? Has the Lord, your loving Father, allowed you to live with suffering, or defeat, or circumstances that defy your best efforts to turn them around?

Pray for rescue!  But, also remember that it may be His will to leave you there for a long night, for His own purposes.  “Come on, Jerry, that is not fair.”  Yes, I understand that and I weep with you. I have lived close to sorrow, in the presence of pain, too. I would have liked Him to show up and lift me from the lion’s den, but had to I wait, to trust and pray that my life would reveal genuine faith, that I would be steady in trust, hopeful and committed to serving Him.

Sometimes the greater victory is not the one we seek.  Peter wrote to the first generation of Christians who were being intensely persecuted. His words would not go over well in our American churches where we like the “Sunday School” version of life where good guys always win and every difficulty finds immediate relief when God’s people pray. 

He teaches something very different – “So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.” (1 Peter 4:19, NLT)  That is a hard truth but so true.  God does not always take us around the hardship. Sometimes He allows those things to reveal Himself to us and through us in greater ways.

Here is a word from the Word. Let it inspire you to hold onto God even through the night in the lion’s den.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV)  

Lord, increase our faith, keep us steady, let us know Your Presence near, even in the lion’s dens of life. Amen

(Video of this blog at this link)

_______________

Goodness Of God

I love You Lord
Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days
I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
I will sing of the goodness of God

All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God

I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In darkest night
You are close like no other

I’ve known You as a father
I’ve known You as a friend
I have lived in the goodness of God

Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me
Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me

With my life laid down
I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me

Ben Fielding | Brian Johnson | Ed Cash | Jason Ingram | Jenn Johnson © 2018 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

2 responses to “Snarling Lions?”

  1. This is si timely. Thank you. Pastor confirmed this very thing in Wednesday Bible study. Be blessed.

    Like

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading along. Lord bless you real good!

      Like

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