Caught up in the storm
(Daniel 2:12-13; John 16:33)My athletic skills as a boy were never epic, so I didn't relish the weekly session in the torture chamber that was the school gym. What a joy it was when, because of a minor ailment, I had a note from my mother 'excusing' me from PE. I could just relax on the bench and watch everyone else suffer.
I'd quite like a note from someone, somewhere that would allow me to opt out of all suffering in life. But Daniel's story demands that we pause again and revisit a rather uncomfortable but vital fact; no such note exempting us from pain exists. As troops are dispatched to arrest Daniel and his little group as part of the royal crackdown on charlatans, we see again that God's people are not exempted from what's going on around us. We 'do' faith in a fallen world, and when things go wrong where we live, the consequences impact us just as much as the next person. Daniel and his pals had been swept away by the political storm that was the Exile -- and now, as a petulant king decreed a purge of 'the wise', they found themselves on the 'most wanted' list too. We will suffer.
If we don't grasp this, then we'll have a crisis of faith every time the clouds gather. Perhaps ironically, we have been given an assurance that we will be counted in for some trouble and strife. It's probably not my favourite verse, and I don't have it stuck to the door of my refrigerator, but Jesus promised us difficulty: 'In this world you will have trouble.' He couldn't put it any more badly than that! Facing some pain? Don't be surprised (1 Pet 4:12). But remain faithful and know that God is with you.
God, it seems, is never irrelevant. thank God for that! i'm sorry for everything, and anything i've done that might have hurt anyone, i never meant it. i still don't have a solution, but i promise i will watch myself.