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Other Journeys in Other Times

Otto Adolph Stemler,
Daniel Refusing to Eat the King’s Food
(public domain)

A journey to another country can be thrilling, happy, enlightening. But for young Daniel, ripped from his comfortable home in Israel for forced travel to service in Babylon, the arduous trip must have been terrifying and painful on many levels. At nighttime, did the prisoners sleep, exhausted, beside the dusty road? When rains fell, did the men shiver in their damp clothing till time and evaporation made them dry?

And what were they thinking as they trudged toward King Nebuchadnezzar? We don’t know much about that trip but I think Daniel must have started out scared, reluctant, angry. He had no way of knowing what lay ahead: fierce and frightening trials, yes, but also great opportunity to bear witness to God’s faithfulness, and to be blessed.

At some point, in spite of his fear and anger, he decided to pray. He made a commitment to the Most High God. And he found support from likeminded friends. We don’t know whether he already knew Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or if he met them on the way to Babylon. But we do know that they were united in their decision to serve and obey God. As a result, their faithfulness has provided inspiration to countless believers for many centuries (see Daniel 1, 2, 3, 6).

Perhaps you have already started on a frightening journey that is not of your choosing. Perhaps you are being forced into a situation that looks much harder than anything you’ve ever lived through. It may be helpful to remember Daniel and his steadfast response to a similar challenge: He didn’t give up, though he didn’t know what lay ahead. He stayed faithful to God. He had a spiritual support group. And he prayed, prayed, prayed.

May the God of hope and love sustain each of us as we travel, and draw us ever closer.