Tuesday, July 2, 2013
When in the Den
I'm talking those dens we all find ourselves in from time to time. As parents, as couples, as families, as friends, as humans. "Places" we are thrown into...that may just be inhabited already...by not so "friendlies."
I love this picture. I have a series of them, with each of my three boys playing the part of Daniel in the famous Bible story. The one set in a den of starving, raging lions. Not know for their gracious hospitality.
The older boys really nailed it. On their knees, sincerely appearing to be in prayer.
The baby. Not so much. Daniel probably didn't have a cute, mischievous grin on his face.
Or, did he?
I came across this stray photo in the middle of a five-day period in which I've been reading Daniel, chapters 3 & 6, each and every day. Not because I want to...but, because I desperately need to.
I used to think that being a great Christian would eventually mean my life would not only get easier...but, better looking. That's why other people would want to know Christ...because if I was fabulous, when people noticed my fabulousness, I would obviously point to Heaven and then...THEN, everyone around me would want what I had. Jesus and fabulousness. Boom.
The only thing I'm finding as I get older...in dog, human and Christian years...is that life gets messier, but God gets mightier.
Sometimes, I get thrown in a pit, like Joseph. Or a prison, like Paul. Or a cave, like David. And sometimes it's a consequence for some stupidity on my part. But, most times, it's from just living in a messy world. It rains on the just and the unjust down here on earth. The just and the unjust can both wind up in dens.
Now that we're all depressed...the good stuff is coming!
Here's me: "God!! Seriously?! Don't let that spineless king throw me in a den of beasts! You can make that not happen. You're God! Come on! No lion's den! I'll give You the glory! Promise!"
Oh, here's another one from me: "Lord!! If You're allowing me to be thrown in a den, then at least send the lions away! Get rid of them! I can camp out in an empty den for a day or two. It might even be like a nice, little prayer retreat for the two of us. Just You and me. No lions."
Here's God: "Oh, girl! If I save you from being thrown in at all...man can take the credit. 'Wasn't the king so merciful?' I might not get the glory."
And: "Child! If I make the lions disappear...again, man can reason a 'why.' Man can say, 'The lions heard something in the distance and were spooked.' 'That pride just got back from a big hunt. They weren't hungry.' I might not get the glory."
Here it comes. "But, if I allow you to be thrown in with starving, raging lions...who see you as a fine meal...and I shut their mouths? Reason that one away. Man can't get the glory. Glory to Me. Boom."
I don't know if God says, "boom," but if Anyone has the right to...it's Him.
I still wish there were no dens, pits, prisons or caves. I still wish I was just fabulous...all of the time.
But, I don't wish those things more than I wish to see the undeniable, unflappable, unstoppable, irrefutable, miraculous wonders of God. The kind that make a fellow earth dweller, facing his or her own messes, stop and say, "Look at her. She was in a den. With lions. She didn't look too good while being thrown in, either. But, I remember her saying something about trusting God to help her...and look, she's survived the lions. I want that."
For those of you feeling led into an unknown today...one you may or may not have chosen...remember, it is only unknown to you.
He is ahead of you, and He's got the lions under control.
So, maybe Daniel was grinning, after all.