Daniel 1:3-8 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel,...4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans....6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food.
When things are going smoothly in your life, you might not find it hard to believe that God is good. But if life takes a bad turn and something devastating happens, you might ask, "How could a good God allow this?" If you know that kind of pain, then you can empathize with Daniel.
Across the pages of the Scriptural account of Daniel's life-from teenager to old man-you can write, "Sovereignty at work." God was directing Daniel's life, whether Daniel saw it at the time or not.
Do you know Daniel's story? One bright day in Jerusalem when Daniel was just a teenager, he was captured as a POW and was ripped away from everything warm and familiar. Daniel's enemies were working a cruel strategy. They singled out the best young people-the all-American teenagers voted "MVP" and "Most Likely to Succeed" and brought them to their capital city near modern-day Kuwait. Their plan was to brainwash these kids with their culture and make them leaders. Daniel was given a foreign name, Belteshazzar. He was forced to learn a new language and was given a new diet.
Had Daniel decided what God was like by looking at his circumstances, he would have become a disillusioned, confused, angry, young man. Kidnapped from his homeland, forced into slavery, most likely castrated to become a eunuch in the palace, Daniel's eyes were still on God. Don't gloss over these facts like they're from some made-for-TV movie-this story is true in every detail. Imagine the suffering connected with his circumstances, yet Daniel went through the fire...successfully. This certainly gives us hope that we can make it through our firestorm, too.
No doubt a situation comes to mind right now from either your past or the present. You may wonder how a God of love could have allowed some painful, wrong injustice. Yet I would bet on the fact that you've not come full circle yet. There will be a day when you will look back and see how God's sovereign hand was at work. Truth is, He is in the center of the situation that troubles your heart right now. He's right in the middle of it.
Just because you can't see Him doesn't mean He isn't there. Look for Him. Trust Him. He is at work.
Lord, I know You are at work in my life and circumstances...even when I don't see Your hand. I know You are working all things together for good. Help me fix my heart on You no matter how long I must wait to see a bigger picture. I believe You will bring all things around for Your glory.
• Do I tend to look to God or to my circumstances? Have I ever questioned His goodness or His sovereignty.
• Do I know someone who has gone through significant trials, yet their eyes are completely fixed on Christ? Describe their joy.
• Are there hints in my life that point to "God at work...even when I don't see it"?