I’ve talked to a lot of people who are going through some very difficult seasons right now. I know a dear young lady who is enduring some difficult health struggles, a couple who is living in a van, a man who is trying to find some closure to his past in jail, an older woman who is struggling with trying to be independent yet managing a crippling disability. Another man, new to the faith, who is trying to fins some income and a place to live while nursing a bad back. The list goes on and on. Some of these dear people are seeking God in their circumstances while others come hoping either I or the church can rescue them from those circumstances. The challenge for us is to discern when helping a situation might be hindering the work of God behind the seen.
The life of Daniel in the Bible is a lesson on God’s sovereign work behind the seen. I’m sure young Daniel was terrified on his march from Jerusalem to Babylon as a prisoner. When he was taken from his family and brought to the palace I’m quite sure doubt and fear clouded his mind. These people took his clothes and gave him new ones. They took his name and gave him a new one. They took his food and his family and set before him a whole new life. They took his manhood and his future as it is more than likely that Daniel was made a eunuch when he entered the king’s service. The point being, Daniel had every reason to wallow in fear, resentment, anger, and despair; to ditch his real identity as a child of God and embrace the expectations of his captors.
The scripture tells us that God endowed Daniel and his three friends with knowledge, skill, and wisdom beyond their peers, but I highly doubt that Daniel knew that ahead of time. His classes and lessons likely came very easy to him and so he was left to realize God’s favor and blessing through experience as he put to use his God-given attributes. Daniel had no idea what God was doing in him until he resolved to preserve his identity and live for God in the midst of his circumstances. We are told that “Daniel resolved not to defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). Though his captors may defile him, though they may take his outer Jewishness away, Daniel refused to defile himself. It started small – with just their food. Later he would resolve not to defile himself with their ideology and their idolatry. In Daniel’s everyday decisions – made in the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death – God worked great wonders.
Maybe you find yourself in dark and difficult circumstances. Maybe, like the apostle Paul described, you are “hard pressed on every side,” “knocked down,” and “persecuted.” The question you need to ask is, What is God doing in you that you may not at this moment be aware of? The challenge before you is to seek God and to seek to honor God in the midst of whatever it is you are struggling through rather than hoping to avoid your appointed season. God will use all things at his disposal to work good in your life! God is not safe, he is not tame, not predictable, nor is he fair. He is Good. He is Just. He is Holy. I’ve heard it said that God will either deliver you out of a situation, or through that situation, but in either case He remains with you. You are not meant to do this alone. God will almost always give you more than you can handle. It is in those overwhelming seasons that we witness the power, presence, and activity of God in, through, and around us. It is in those seasons that we need to seek what God is doing behind the seen and put our hope and trust in Him, rather than a specific outcome.