If we’re all honest with ourselves, we’d all agree we are lost more often than we know where we’re going. We trick ourselves into thinking the roadmap is in our hands and that we can boil life down into specific steps to achieve specific goals. In the end, we are merely pieces moved in various directions. Generally we don’t understand the purposes behind each move to the next season. Sometimes we don’t even know if we are winning or losing.
I have read the Bible cover to cover, studied both in college and in my free time, and if there’s one thing I’ve come to notice, it’s that the people of God had NO CLUE what they were doing. It’s almost humorous when you think about it. They didn’t have a grand scheme in mind and they didn’t have a five or ten-year plan in place. They just lived their lives and answered the call when it came from God, even when things changed in a moment’s notice.
As I read these opening chapters of Daniel, I had to look at the story of this season in his life in a very realistic way. Daniel, his friends, and his people are all taken captive by a king from a completely different culture and belief system and it seems like God just hands them over. Daniel is then, along with his friends, told he will now serve this new king as his elite-eating, drinking and doing exactly what King Nebuchadnezzar wants.
Then the king has a crazy dream in desperate need of interpretation, but won’t tell anyone what the dream actually is. When the religious people of Babylon fail at interpreting the dream, he sentences ALL of his elite (yes, this includes Daniel and his friends) to death. So now Daniel is on his way to his death because someone else couldn’t read the mind of the king who had captured him. Talk about a crazy situation!
What happens next should surprise you. Instead of choosing to just die (which at this point in his life would not have been absurd) Daniel goes to the king and boldly declares that through the help of the Lord he will interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Um, what?
If I’m honest with you, the last four months of my life have felt much like Daniel’s current situation. I feel as if I’ve walked into a new place I wasn’t supposed to be in because I had to do things others wanted me to do. I feel like I had no control over how I got here, and now I’m struggling to find a sensible way out. And I sit here wondering how Daniel can get by even though he is in a strange place.
We all have seasons where we feel we’ve been led down the wrong path and there is nowhere to go but through. We all have seasons where we feel we are way outside of the will of God. The friction and tension from being in a place you feel you weren’t truly called to is sucking the oxygen right out of your lungs. But – believe it or not – the path leading to this strange place was ordered by God.
God will let us walk into strange places. He doesn’t do it to break us, He doesn’t do it to abandon us. He does it because He knows we will rise in the wilderness. God lets us walk into strange places because He is excited to see us grow in strength each step of the way.
The miracles and prophecies that take place in the Book of Daniel began the moment Babylon captured Jerusalem. Without captivity there would be no fiery furnace, no lion’s den, no dream interpretations or visions. Perhaps you’re in a strange place, as I am now, and you’re longing to go back. Don’t look back. This strange place, while temporary, is the place you are supposed to be.
Make the decision to make the most of it. Choosing to follow the Lord, whether means a shift in your diet or taking a radical stand to bear witness when it’s not welcome. You were brought here for a reason. Listen for His voice and get ready for miracles to unfold. He will lead you each step of the way.
Featured image by Jeremy Bishop