Monday, May 9, 2016

The Power of Determination

Over the weekend, I spent most of my study time reading in Daniel. For this week, he's my favorite Bible character, and I continue to learn from reading about his faith in the midst of his life's trial. Like caregivers, his trial didn't miraculously go away one day; it was a lifelong journey. Actually, the 12 chapters this book contains cover a lifetime of over 70 years. Sometimes we tend to read through it in a matter of a few minutes without realizing the time element.

70 years he was in captivity. He lost his family, his country and his life to become the servant of a king. While there is the good side of things - we can't minimize the losses he went through. He was young when he was carried away to Babylon but we see him develop into a man of God in the midst of extreme circumstances.

I literally lived in the ICU waiting room for 3 weeks before my son was moved to the floor of the hospital and during that time I prayed that whatever the outcome would be - I wouldn't become bitter. There had been many instances where I'd seen individuals go through tough times to come out bitter and angry in the end. And about 18 months later when I was able to re-establish a home and bring my son home finally - I prayed again that I would not become bitter but that I would be like many saints who let harsh circumstances develop and deepen their faith.

I don't know if I've accomplished that goal - but I see it in Daniel. In chapter one, it says he was determined not to eat the king's food. He did not want to violate his convictions - and he knew he could die. The king could kill him for his request; or he could starve to death! He could have been kicked out of the palace and placed with those who were not "chosen" by the king to serve. He risked a lot by making his unusual request.

And then years later we see a matured Daniel being told he could not pray to anyone but the king. And in chapter 6 verse 10 tells us this: when Daniel learned the law had been signed (that there was to be no prayer to anyone or any god but the king) he went home and knelt down as usual....and prayed! I love that!

I want to have the determination we see in Daniel. It was like nothing on the outside mattered, he was determined to serve God no matter what. The scriptures make no mention of him being bitter or angry at God for all that befell him. And in our "new world" thinking - he had every right to be. As caregivers the world gives us that right too. And I will admit - I've been angry at God, He and I have discussed it many times - and we don't have any details on what Daniel was thinking - perhaps he and God had discussed it too.

My prayer today is that over the years of this caregiving journey I end up like Daniel - with my face in His. I love the way Daniel took the king's decree in stride and once again followed his heart and conviction rather than just blindly doing whatever the king said. He wasn't obstinate, rebellious, or hateful. He just turned and went to his prayer spot just like before - as if the decree had never been made.

Today I will be thinking about Daniel and how determined he was to serve God in spite of his circumstances. My meditations will be on how I can work on relationship with God instead of being angry that He let bad things happen in my life. I will think about how He walks through it with me and never leaves me on my own. And for me, I'll even think about how patient He has been, and continues to be as I work through my issues. Today, I will embrace His grace and His presence and focus on Him instead of my circumstance. Will you join me?

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