Read His Words Before Ours!
History repeats itself.
Not in the sense that the same events happen over and over, rather that we have been dealing with the consequences of sin since it first marred God’s perfect world.
Today, we’re diving into the prayers of Daniel, who was no stranger to the suffering of life. As part of the Jewish nation, Daniel joined his people as they were exiled from their homeland in Jerusalem and sent to live under the rule and the captivity of Babylon.
Daniel was acutely aware how the exile and captivity were direct consequences of Israel turning away from God to focus on the fleeting rewards the earth has to offer.
He saw suffering magnified in the oppressive rule of Babylon and yet,
he chose faith in the midst of hardship.
With God’s righteous judgment in play, Daniel pleaded to the Lord on behalf of the Jewish people for their forgiveness and reconciliation back to Him. (Daniel 9:1-19) He confesses his sins and the sins of his people. He recognizes God’s judgment upon His people as just and warranted.
Can we say the same today? How often do we wrestle with the weight of the world and ask, “Why, God?” We see the consequences of sin run amuck around us, and we find our hearts aching for something beyond this world.
The battle we experience with sin isn’t against human enemies, but against the forces of the spiritual realm. (Ephesians 6:12) In the battle for our hearts, our only hope is to focus on our merciful God, the only One able to rescue us from the turmoil.
Daniel had some pretty intense first-person experiences with God’s grace and mercy (in a fiery furnace and a lion’s den). (Daniel 3 and 6) He knew the power of the ever-present mercy of God, so he called on those attributes of God and pleaded on behalf of his people for an end to their suffering.
In his prayer, Daniel acknowledges God is righteous and just, while also merciful and gracious. He seizes this opportunity, while experiencing God’s wrath, to confess, to point to God’s greatness, and to remind himself God keeps His promises, including His promise to deliver His people.
Daniel realizes God is enough. There’s no pretense Daniel will receive all the answers, or possess the power to deliver himself or his people from judgment; instead, he recognizes God alone will provide and sustain.
Daniel shows us through his prayer what it means to be in true, intimate relationship with God:
It’s a confident hope.
It’s surrendering control.
It’s remembering God is for us.
Like Daniel, I find myself currently in a season of loss and missing all that was familiar and safe. I have been asking myself, “Is Jesus enough? Is the hope I see glimmering beyond these struggles enough to sustain me through the valley? Is a relationship with Him all I need?”
God doesn’t require us to have all of the answers, and we can rest knowing we don’t need them. He simply welcomes us, right now, as we are, to trust Him for the Journey.
For our questions, the Lord provides Himself.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God–who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly–and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
For our longing for justice, again, the Lord gives Himself.
“This is my servant [. . .] I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1-2)
For our weariness from suffering, the Lord offers Himself.
“Rise up, Lord God! Lift up your hand. Do not forget the oppressed.” (Psalm 10:12)
Consistently, the Lord God invites us to lean into His mercy and compassion, remembering He alone is enough.
What are you waiting on?
What are you wrestling through?
What are your hardships?
Where are you asking, “Why, God?”
Let’s bring these struggles to the Lord. Let’s experience His grace and mercy flooding our hearts as we confess our sins and dive deeper into relationship with Him. Let’s embrace the only One who is enough. He’s already waiting for us!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!