Article by Pastor Tom DrionElder at GraceLife London
If your finger is on the pulse of the Church today, you might worry that we’re about to burst a blood vessel.
Panic is not too strong a description of the way Christians everywhere are responding to the gathering storms of persecution.
It’s true — governments are introducing legislation that has potential to radically change our lives — but in case you’d forgotten, now is NOT the time to panic.
Now is the time for Christians to exercise faith! Let’s not forget that our forefathers stopped the mouths of lions through faith (Hebrews 11:33), and it’s at times like these that we need to follow their examples. We need to keep calm and carry on!
Daniel just never seemed to be in a flap. If it’s been a while, stop here and re-read Daniel 6 to hit ‘refresh’ for your mental image of this hero of the faith.
When the lobbyists persuaded king Darius to write laws designed specifically to trap Daniel, it’s worth pondering his poise. He didn’t run. He didn’t hide. He didn’t change his course. You’d think he wasn’t even afraid of the king’s wrath, when in full view of everyone he carried on with the activity that had just been prohibited, on pain of death.
Christians today seem to be panicking in the face of the potential loss of church income. We’re worrying that we might lose some of our freedoms. We might lose our jobs, be sued for our savings, or —perish the thought — go to jail.
Well, all of that is true, but come on! Have we forgotten that God can overrule the plots of men for good? Have we forgotten the God of Daniel who actually did stop the mouths of lions in answer to his prayers? Have we forgotten that God even turned the whole event around, so that the lobbyists were thrown to the lions, and king Darius made a new law promoting true religion! Have we forgotten God answers prayers?
Where are the Daniels who will carry on, unflinching, with prayerful faith that God can deliver us if he pleases?
On a side note, but an important one, it’s really helpful to think about Daniel’s behaviour towards Darius. Lobbyists have always manipulated their powerful overlords to achieve their own ends, and Daniel had seen his fair share of it in his lifetime (see chapters 2-5), so it’s instructive to watch his response when the cards are stacked against him.
Daniel didn’t whine, he didn’t cavil, didn’t cry. Instead, there’s a quiet dignity — so much like another, you might think of, silent before his accusers — entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23).
Christians mustn’t forget this quiet dignity of faith. We mustn’t curse our Darius for the evils of our situation. Daniel’s example calls us to faith, to prayer, and to quiet, respectful trust in the one who holds the king’s heart in his hands.