For the past year of my life, nothing has stayed the same. I went from my final semester of college, to a summer at home working an office job, to student teaching, to graduating, to a brand new job in a brand new town. I went from being an expert at being a student after having done that for 15+ years to being a teacher with virtually no experience. I went from knowing everyone on the tiny campus I lived on to moving to a new town where the only people I know are my coworkers.
There haven’t been a whole lot of constants for me over the last year.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you too have gone through many changes recently. Or maybe you can’t relate at all. Maybe your life has been the same for years, with little changing besides what you eat for dinner each night.
Either way, I can say with almost 100% certainty that you have gone through some sort of challenge over the past year. My big challenge has been adjusting to the change, but your change could have been much more difficult or much more painful or much more trying.
The loss of a close friend or family member, struggling to make ends meet, the loss of a job, sickness, a major injury, a crippling battle with anxiety or depression, a child being bullied. The list of struggles could go on for pages.
In the Old Testament, we read an account of a man named Daniel. He was living in King Darius’ kingdom. Daniel was working for the king and doing an exceptional job. In fact, King Darius was so pleased with Daniel that he was planning to set him over the entire kingdom.
Okay, so at this point you may be thinking, “Great! What’s the issue?” Well, the other men who were working for King Darius with Daniel weren’t too happy about this. They wanted to rule the kingdom. So they decided to find out what kind of corrupt ways Daniel was using to do such a great job. After they searched and searched, they found that Daniel was honest and upright. They decided the only way they could have charges against him was if it had something to do with God.
To make a long story short, these men convinced King Darius to sign a decree that no one in the kingdom should pray to anyone besides the king. Any offender would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Daniel, being the devout man that he was, continued to pray to God. When the group of men found him praying, they turned him in, having him thrown into the lion’s den. I could go into detail about what happens next, but the part I want to focus on is Daniel’s testament to God.
After spending the night in the lion’s den, Daniel is brought out. When asked if his God has rescued him from the lion’s, Daniel responds:
“O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” (Daniel 6:21-22)
Not only was Daniel saved from the lion’s den, but King Darius makes a new decree:
“I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26-27)
God used Daniel’s situation as a witness and testimony to His great ability to rescue and redeem. He used what was probably the scariest moment in Daniel’s life as a way to bring an entire kingdom to know Him.
As I started to think about this situation, I started to realize that what God did for Daniel is exactly what He does for us each and every day. Sure, I haven’t ever found myself in a lion’s den and the chances of that happening to me are slim, but maybe just maybe our God is using my year full of change to bring people to Him. Our God is using your hurt and your struggles, your pain, mourning, questioning, and doubt to show others His great power.
When the world is raging around us, we know that our God is constant, unchanging, and redeeming us, even in the scariest of situations. He is using our hurt and pain for His good.
Psalm 46:2-3 provides a comforting picture of this:
“Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
So take heart. Even when it feels like our world is shaking or we have fallen into the pit, we serve a God who redeems us in every single moment. He uses every painful situation for His glory.
Resting in our Redeemer,