My Granny told me throughout my adolescent years- “Be like Daniel.” As we ended our phone conversations, as I hurried off to school, before my Saturday track meets, as I walked out the door with my date, her words were an ever-present reminder. She had a way of taking the most profound thoughts and condensing them into the simplest of phrases. While I understood some of what she meant at the time, it’s taken the last few years to come to fully value the depth of her wisdom.
The America I have known my entire life is no more. Driven by politics over relationships, we find the great tapestry of our Nation hanging on by a few worn-out threads. I am finding myself enraged by the actions of both sides. I am worried about what the future holds for my children. I am disheartened by all the noise. And I am broken over the divide we all find ourselves in.
This afternoon I wept as I watched the news. Is this really what America has become? Are we really allowing our country to be torn to shreds from sensational news coverage, social media posts, and a virus that has affected all of us in some way? Have we really allowed our nation to implode from within? The core of who we are- the UNITED States of America- utterly divided?
Tears ran down my face as I rocked my newborn son- how do I raise him and his sisters in such a tumultuous climate? What will life look like for them going forward?
As I continued to rock, my sweet Granny’s southern tone filled my ears- “Be like Daniel.” So I turned to Daniel 6. Daniel had just learned that his worship would sentence him to death in the lion’s den. While many know this portion of Scripture from the Sunday School lessons, Daniel is saved from the lions, it is his response to the decree that warrants such a profound statement to serve as a reminder to us all.
“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” – Daniel 6:10
“As he had done previously.”
Be like Daniel, Arianna.”
Daniel was guaranteed the consequences of going about life the same, yet he didn’t waver in his commitment to worship. He didn’t mourn the loss of his right to pray, he prayed as he had previously done. He didn’t deny the punishment that was to come, he fixed his eyes on Jerusalem as he had previously done, remembering his identity as God’s chosen people. He didn’t fear death, he worshipped as he had previously done.
He remembered Who was in control.
He remembered Who alone he worshipped.
He responded by doing just as he had done previously.
Friends, I don’t know where you find yourselves tonight. There’s a good chance that while we may all align differently on the political spectrum we all find ourselves grieved by what has taken place today. Collectively, we mourn the state of our nation.
I don’t know where you stand with Jesus Christ. I don’t know what you believe and hold to. But I can tell you- my response going forward will be to do as I have previously done.
To raise my children to know and honor God, as warriors for His Truth, as soldiers of compassion and love for all made in His image, and as seekers of righteousness in a fallen world. To walk with my husband, hand-in-hand, proclaiming the Gospel in our words and deeds, creating a home that is a sanctuary of praise for our Father and a refuge of hope for those in need. To go about my days reading His word, being refined by His Truth, transformed by His holiness, forever reminded that He holds our days in His hands.
I do not know what tomorrow holds. I do not know what life looks like ten years from now. I do not know how our nation will even go forward from here. But I can be like Daniel. Amid the dark news of today, I can respond by doing as I have always done- surrendered to the will of the Father, worshipping Him no matter what looms ahead. And in so doing, I can raise yet another generation to respond the same-
On the darkest of days.
When the world is more divided than ever.
When fear overwhelms.
Fix your eyes on Him.
Fall on your knees before Him.
Pray, give thanks, and worship your God.
Just as you have done.
The God who shut the mouths of lions for Daniel holds the future in His hands. We need not fear. We simply must respond and do as we have previously done.