(The message of this post? It’s now a tattoo on my foot. So there’s that.)
On Monday nights I go to bible study. (I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere about how, without fail, I always remember as I sit in study that I’m missing The Bachelor… but we’ll leave that for another day.) We began 2016 by studying and learning about A) prayer B) spiritual warfare C) how the two go hand-in-hand.
I’m a processor and a listener and would much rather let the extroverts get their thoughts out there. It’s a win-win, really. If something is pressing, I’ll speak up. But other than that, don’t mind me as I just think and observe.
Especially with this study, I’ve found myself staying quieter than normal. It isn’t that I don’t have any opinions on the topics, but that I *do* have opinions — and lots of them! I’ve wrestled with the darkness, I’ve spent months researching and learning about spiritual warfare, and I’ve found that when everything is at its very deepest, darkest dark… Jesus is still there. Your world might feel like it’s spinning off its axis and you’ve been plunged into the darkness, but if the Holy Spirit is within you, then you are always carrying the Light. You are never truly in the dark, even when everything around you seems to say the opposite.
There’s also the little fact that I wrote an entire chapter in my book titled “darkness & light,” including the story of how this exact topic made me burst out in lots of words during a 9:15 theology class. (Yeah, I’m choosing to learn from past experience and keep my mouth shut for the most part, lest I burst and ramble and basically just quote the whole chapter to 30 unsuspecting ladies. But anyways. Where were we?)
A few weeks ago one of the women randomly mentioned 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I’ve heard and read this verse countless times. In fact, the bookmark in my Bible has been in 1 Peter 5 for no less than 5 years. But for some reason as soon as she said that verse, one word came to mind: Daniel.
Okay, what? Daniel? I sat there silently tallying up everything I could think of about Daniel — and then it hit me: Daniel and the lion’s den (from Daniel 6).
There were these guys who wanted to get Daniel in trouble, wanted him to experience pain, wanted to bring about his demise. They set up a trap and long story short, it became illegal for anyone to pray to God, the God we know from the Bible. But Daniel kept on praying just like always and he didn’t bother hiding it. After being discovered, he was given the assigned punishment: being thrown into the lion’s den. Literally, being thrown into a pit with ravenous lions. It happened, he was thrown in, and the lions didn’t even open their mouths.
(Hello. This is ridiculous and amazing.)
Instead of eating him alive, ripping him limb from limb and devouring his flesh, they were like little pets because the God Daniel prayed to shut the mouths of those lions.
And so I thought about 1 Peter and how the devil is portrayed as a roaring lion, and I thought about Daniel 6 and how he had been so faithful to spend time in prayer, and it was like God took a thread from a story in the Old Testament and words in the New and He wove the whole dang glorious story together.
Sure, you could argue Daniel ended up in a mess because of prayer, but prayer prepared him for the mess.
He survived, by the way. No harm was done and when the king saw this, he saw so much more. He saw the glory of the LORD, the God Daniel had been praying to, the One who is faithful.
It was Daniel’s consistent time with the Lord that prepared him for the lions, and it was his time in the trial that so evidently pointed to the glory of God.
The One who is in you is greater than the roaring lion of this world. You are a child of God, a daughter of the Most High, and the battle is the Lord’s. You probably won’t face a literal lion tomorrow, but you’ll face a lion in a different form. So prepare. Now. Pray and listen and watch out, stay alert. But also know that the battle has been won. Our God reigns and our God wins.
Let’s not deny the darkness, but let’s be quick to remember and slow to forget that light is greater than the dark.
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