My favorite Bible story growing up was Daniel in the Lions’ Den. I’ve always loved animals, so that might have something to do with it, but to this day I have never forgotten the awesome power of the miracle God gave Daniel in the bottom of that cave.
As a girl I had a very vivid imagination and whenever my Nana read this passage to me I could picture in my mind the amber eyes flashing in the dark, shadowy tails swishing back and forth as lean and hungry huge figures paced around the meal placed before them. I could close my eyes and hear the heavy paws pad closer. I could feel the hot breath of parted jaws tasting the air, and shivered at the synchronized bass of predatory opine. It was terrifying and hopeless. I can close my eyes now and see the man standing; eyes squeezed shut, rigid still, urging his lungs not to breath and his heart to slow, tiny beads of sweat betraying every pore.
I wouldn’t do better. I’m pretty sure I’d shrink into a tight ball with my arms over my head and hyperventilating.
I wonder what Daniel was thinking? Was he reliving his last moments, sure of impending death? Was he berating himself for the acts of commitment to God that landed him in this pit? Was he thinking of all the people he had to say goodbye to, that would be left to mourn his violent passing?
I’d like to think he was praying. Or rehearsing to his soul the promises of God; I’ll not leave thee nor forsake thee. Fear not, be thou of good courage, have not I commanded thee? …
I wonder when he felt the presence of the angel. Or if he ever even knew he was there?
I know of a certainty at some point Daniel realized he safe. Even in the midst of the agitated beasts; imagine their anger and frustration, a meal set before them and yet an invisible force kept their claws from dragging it into play, and worse yet their jaws could not open. I can see giant shaggy heads shaking, like muzzled dogs, digging with retracted claws at the unseen vise. It would have been a roiling sea of confusion. Imagine all that muscle leaping around in the dark; and the cacophony of irate roars. But God was faithful. Daniel didn’t have so much as a scratch upon him when the morning came.
I want to say this: You may be in a dark den of lions. You may be in any shape imaginable, given the terror of such a situation as you may be in. You may hear nothing but the threat of impending doom. You may be already saying goodbye to the life you once knew, kicking yourself for the righteous living that may have landed you here, or so frozen in fear that you cannot bring yourself to move.
But there is hope, friend.
You see, God made the lions. He has all power over them. He has an army of angels to send your way, though only one would be sufficient. He can and will shut the mouths of the lions and he can and will keep you safe.
Daniel had a force working in his favor that he was unaware of. Yes, he had obeyed God and served God faithfully and it seemed as if he was being punished for it. But he had a friend that loved him dearly, who spent the whole night fasting and praying for Daniel. God heard this man’s prayers, as he heard Daniel’s. He was there with Daniel in the pit and he gave him a miracle. And it wasn’t punishment for obedience to God that found Daniel in the den; it was the evil of ungodly men. I love that God not only took care of Daniel, but He took care of the evil men as well. He rewarded them justly for what they had done, and there were no angels to spare them the same fate they had intended for Daniel.
I declare to you today, those of you in the pit, God is faithful. It makes no sense that you can survive this, but it makes no sense that I survived two weeks of a brain stem bleed and a surgery that should have taken my life or rendered me paralyzed. God is not hindered at all by your circumstances. He owns it all. He is above the concrete details that have you convinced you are without hope.
You are never without hope when you belong to Jesus. I had thousands of people praying for me. Daniel only had the one.
If you need prayer today, comment a hand below. I don’t need to know your situation to pray for you. And I challenge anyone who reads this to pray also for each hand.
“…O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20)