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October 16, 2013 – Daniel 1

Click here to read Daniel 1 on BibleGateway.com

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Sometimes certain concepts are hard to get ahold of. Like prepositions aren’t good to end sentences with. Or that pizza can actually be a health food. Or that beehive hairdos were once considered fashionable.

But one of the most difficult concepts for Christians to accept is that suffering can actually be God’s plan. We tend to pray for “safe travels,” divine healings,  and a good parking spot at the mall. We believe that God wants us to have a reliable car, that Grandma should either be healed or taken to heaven, and that if we have “enough” faith that all the lights will be green.

“YES, CAN I HAVE THE ‘NO PAINING’ SECTION?

This is really a foreign concept to the Bible. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly where this idea comes from. If we just look at a few of the people that we “know” were in God’s will, almost all of them suffered quite deeply. Joseph? slavery and jail. David? Exiled, overthrown, lost several children. Paul? Whipped, shipwrecked, imprisoned, starving. Jesus? Rejection, poverty, and an almost unimaginably painful death. Why in the world would we think that our walk with Christ should be any different?

However, as one of our great sages has spoken, don’t panic. Each of these guys also had encouragements as well. Joseph? God intended the evil for good, to save many. David? A man who was intimately in love with God and seen as one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history. Paul? Contentment and peace in all circumstances. Jesus? Risen, exalted, reigning forever.

In Daniel 1, we read about how “the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he [Nebuchadnezzar] carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.”  Can you imagine? Not only is the city conquered and Daniel and his buddies taken into captivity, but all of “God’s stuff” is stolen and taken to a foreign deity. Surely this can’t be God’s will, can it? Yet the Bible clearly says it was God who allowed this to happen.

INSERT FAVORITE “LO” VERSE HERE

The truth is that a walk with Christ will rarely be painless, and is certainly no guarantee of a life of ease. We don’t follow Christ because of material things that He does for us (though those can be nice), but because of who He is. Jesus doesn’t promise that life will be a walk in the park (in fact, he all but guarantees we’ll have trouble and trials), but He does make one overarching promise: He will be with us. What more do we need?

Do you have “enough faith” to believe that your sufferings today could be God’s will?

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