Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Daniel in the Lions' Den, by James Northcote, 1818 (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
— Daniel 6:21-22
The noblemen of Babylon, the governors, princes, counsellors and captains of the court, jealous of Daniel's position of honour seek to discredit him, and finding no fault they create a new law to say all citizens must pray to king Darius; all other worship is punishable by death. It's a set-up, of course. It is well known, and accepted that Daniel prays to God, and will supplicate himself to no other.
With no substance to their claim of disloyalty, or to any aspect of their attempts to discredit him, Daniel is never in danger. He rises above their petty jealousy, and stays focused on his ultimate purpose: to serve God. It is Daniel's innocence, his unwillingness, maybe even inability to get pulled into rivalry, gossip and oneupmanship that ultimately saves him. If we stay faithful in the face of danger, we can face it with courage and strength. An animal—an enemy—smells fear, and reacts. Daniel showed no fear, he exuded only love, and tamed the wild beast.
When we are threatened it is easy to fall into fear, and that is when things don't work out well. The story we tell ourselves usually comes to occur. Consider the world's reaction to the mostly-harmless coronavirus, covid19. The various fear-induced responses, both governmental and personal, created a parallel pandemic of anxiety and depression. Essentially, we wrote the script and we played the parts.
Entering danger with faith and courage we are more likely to find a way through. Giving ourselves over to God allows us to trust that whatever happens is exactly what is meant to happen. There is a beautiful strength to such acceptance, one that Daniel experienced in the lions' den, a strength of faith that calmed a potentially volatile situation. There is much we can learn from this story about how to show up in difficult situations.