Daniel 6 - Coming to fully understand God's providential love for us first starts with a gift of ourselves in the form of trust and surrender.
Daniel being cast into the lions’ den and somehow surviving is a passage that I grew up adoring. As a young child I interpreted it to be a story of bravery. Upon reexamining it, different points were brought to the forefront of my mind rather than Daniel’s “fearless” attitude in the face of adversity. This time I was struck by God’s providential love for Daniel and how He used the grim situation of Daniel’s death sentence to bring about glory for His Kingdom.
Although we can all agree that Daniel had to be pretty brave to even have an ounce of peace in his heart during his period in the den, what is more impressive was his full trust in God. I want to spend time focused on one verse in particular from this passage.
“he was found to be unharmed because he trusted in his God” (Daniel 6:24)
Many of us say that we trust God, but in reality we only trust him to the point where we are still in control. Daniel in this passage fully submitted himself to God, whether that meant he would be exalted or thrown into a lions’ den. It is in our human nature to love to be in control. We want to control the AC, what we eat, how we dress, etc, - and this desire to control aspects of our life bleeds over into our spiritual life as we cling onto our will over the Father’s. This has been an area of personal struggle for myself. Through talking about this idea of being afraid of letting God control my entire life I was struck by a line a good friend said to me.
“The worst thing that can happen to someone is not that they die, but that they separate themselves from God.”
One of the reasons I have struggled to let God take control is a fear of the unknown. What will happen to me? Does this mean I’ll have to suffer greatly? What about my loved ones? Once we understand that God loves and cares for us as well as those in our lives infinitely more than we do, then we can unclench our grips on the control wheel (#JesusTakeTheWheel). This simple understanding is life changing when we take it to heart.
Another beautiful revelation that comes from this is how God brought about glory through the trial of Daniel. From the outside looking in one could wonder “Why would God let this happen at all? Why wouldn’t he just prevent the peers from betraying Daniel in the first place?” He did so because He can see the full picture, while we can only see a finite element of it. God saw the beauty that would come from this trial, the souls that would find Him, and that Daniel would be exalted. In our own lives it is important to remind ourselves that we live in the finite, but serve an infinite God. When I think back on my life and all the moments I was terrified or suffered, I now see the light and peace that was a direct result of my pain.
God loves you far more than you can imagine. Next time you find yourself spiralling out of control I encourage you to “let go and let God” as the saying goes. It is in full surrender in which we will discover the true providential love of God.
Questions to Take to Prayer
What area of your life right now are you struggling to let God be in control of?
What habits/tendencies specifically do you need to let go of to allow God to take control?