This past week, I accompanied the high school students at my church to a camp called CIY Move in Tennessee. The messages all included some portion of the story of Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) where they all stood up for what they believed in and were willing to die for God (read Danial 1-6 to get the whole picture of what I'm referring to). The three friends were thrown into the fiery furnace and were saved by God and Daniel was thrown into the lions den, also saved by God. Each of these instances were crucial to the king at the time coming to praise God for what He had done. But what is often overlooked are the verses where we see that Daniel and his friends prayed to God three times a day.
Why is this so important? This shows and proves that all of these men were having regular times with God in their private lives. Each day, they prayed morning, afternoon, and evening. They worshiped God on a regular basis so that when the crisis came, they knew exactly what to do. They knew what their reaction would be because they had their hearts and minds completely surrendered to God. Do you? How do you react in hard times? Your reaction shows you where your heart is.
A student mentioned that her friends often say that you can become a Christ follower later in life but right now is when you are supposed to make mistakes and live life crazy. The problem with this statement is that later never comes for most people. It's not that they die, that's not what I'm saying, but they live life and forget to grow up or forget to stop making mistakes and the next thing they know, they're 80 and they just spent most of their life making mistakes and going through hard times without the help of God. Trials are so much easier when you rely on God and when you lean into him. Friends don't always say the right thing and, while a hug from your mom is nice, it doesn't fix everything. But, God does. He can fix things. He can show you where to go and what to do. God is so much bigger than any problem or trial that has ever and will ever come your way.
Another thing about the Daniel story and his friends that is often overlooked is the fact that neither of them were saved from going into the furnace or the lions den, but they were saved in the midst of. Let that sink in. Think of it as a trial. Danial was not saved from the trial, but was thrown into it only to be saved by God. Do you think the king in this story would've praised God if he never witnessed the power that God had to save Daniel from the hungry lions? Do you think the other king at the at the time when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fire would've believed in a mighty God if he hadn't witness that God save the three men from the fire? The soldiers who threw the three men into the fire were burned alive! So how come Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survived if the soldiers didn't? Do you see where I'm going with this? Sometimes, we have to go through trials so God can receive the glory from either us or those around us who reject God's glory.
In the end, what I'm trying to say is that your trials matter and how you respond is crucial. Spend time daily worshiping God and reading the Bible. It's a simple task. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to start your day with a heart and mind looking towards God. Trust me, the more time you spend loving God, the better your reactions will be when a trial comes slamming at you. Trails are never fun, but making God your number 1 will definitely help you see the light at the end of the tunnel of that trial. So, go spend time with God. Daniel spent time with God three times a day and when his trial came, he quickly proclaimed God's mighty power. My hope is that this will be your reaction too so that God might be glorified.