If you know anything about Daniel, our Old Testament hero of the week, it’s probably that he was thrown into a den of hungry lions. The bigger story of Daniel is that he spent his entire adult life exiled far from where he thought he’d be, serving a series of power-hungry kings by using his God given natural and supernatural gifts.
As Daniel served these kings, he did so in a way of foremost service to God, the One True King. Daniel was a prophet, wired to continually seek the heart of God, finding guidance from the Spirit, and longing for others to do the same.
Whatever Daniel came up against, God proved stronger. Lions shut their mouths, defying their ravenous survival instinct. Kings sought out Daniel’s knowledge and understanding, despite their arrogance. The Babylonian nation turned to praise the God of Israel because of Daniel’s influence. What a plot twist — an exiled people became the greatest influence.
We, as individuals and as a congregation, are not living the life we expected right now. We are scattered and exiled by COVID-19. On the surface it looks bleak. But God is not limited to the surface! If we seek him, he penetrates deep into every circumstance and challenge we face. He shuts the mouths of lions roaring around and seeking to devour us, even the lions who roar within us. His love guides us with simple ways we can be effective for his Kingdom's sake, bringing those we influence to declare truth, as did the King of Babylon:
“For [the God of Daniel] is the living God and endures forever; his Kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.” Daniel 6:26b