I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook and Twitter about how 2016 should be a mulligan; a re-do; a this-sucks-so-bad-that-we-will-collectively-as-a-nation-and-as-a-world-ask-to-try-it-over-again year.
This week has been incredibly heartbreaking to witness. It felt each day was getting worse. With two black men being killed, five police officers killed in Dallas, 84 people killed in France, and now Turkey experiencing a coup (possibly), and let’s not forget the continued wars that are happening throughout the world, it’s no wonder that I have ended this week with a broken heart.
And yet, my faith in God has strengthened.
How? I’ve been studying the Book of Daniel and I was reminded of some key facts:
- God is in control of kingdoms. He allowed the Exile to happen. He humbled King Nebuchadnezzar and he killed King Belshazzar. I mean God is fully in control. Kingdoms come and go. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of a large statue with a gold head, silver body, bronze lower body, and legs made of fired clay. They were kingdoms that have since passed. They are now history. So, sure this week I am feeling like the world is out of control, but it’s not. There is more happening than I can see. Do you think the people of Judah knew that God was using Daniel for His Kingdom? No. So, who knows who God is using right now to build His Kingdom. And my job is to help build God’s Kingdom – the Everlasting Kingdom – let my focus be on that. It’s not to ignore and avoid what is happening, but it’s to remember that God is at work and in control.
- Prayer is powerful. Throughout the book of Daniel we see Daniel praying even at times when the world would tell him he is being reckless. After King Darius makes the decree that all men must pray to him and if anyone is found praying to another god then they shall be thrown into the lion’s den, we see Daniel goes to pray three times a day without hesitation. He knew the cost, but he also knows that God is more worthy of prayer than any king on earth. He’s also been through so much at this point – he’s already serving his third king! – he knows his priority is God. This week I felt helpless praying. Why can’t I do more? And then I realized prayer saves lives; prayer is action; prayer intersects our humanity with God’s holiness.
- God humbles the mighty. There are people throughout the world who are oppressed. Look at what is happening in my own country. #BlackLivesMatter has become a movement in response to the oppression an entire community of people have experienced. ISIS is attacking because they believe their ideology is superior and will stop at nothing to kill anyone who thinks otherwise. There have been forces at work for quite a while,and while we think they are growing in strength, I have learned that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18). It’s time. This world is breaking with the narcissism and corruption of power – soon things will fall apart, again. And God will be there, as He always is.
I could go on. I am so incredibly thankful to God that He strengthened and encouraged my spirit during this incredibly heavy, dark week… year.