daniel in the lions den

Waiting.

I grew up hearing Bible stories - Daniel, Jonah, Noah. But sometimes when I read them now to my kids, I wonder things.

Daniel in the den of lions. Daniel 6:22 "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight." I've seen the cartoon drawings of Daniel sitting with a lion in his lap, and I think in VeggieTales they even have a pizza party together. But, yet, I wonder. Did the lions walk laps around Daniel all night long, licking their lips and snarling their teeth at him? Did Daniel see the angel God sent? Did the angel come and then stay all night or did he leave? How dark was it in that den? Could he even see his hand in front of his face? Could he hear the lions breathing on his neck? Did he wonder if his next breath would be his last?

I'm just saying that I don't think Daniel's night in the lions den was a peaceful nights slumber nor a pizza party nor that he was cuddling with the lions. In my mind, I think maybe it was a night of sheer terror.

Imagine it like this. Daniel prays to God despite the king's new law, so Daniel is punished. He is thrown into the den of lions. Daniel 6:17 "A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den." Daniel 6:23 "The king gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den." Daniel was lifted out. You don't need to be lifted out of a cave that you just walk into. Daniel was in a hole. A hole that was then covered with a stone. Common sense tells me that a hole covered by a rock is going to be a very dark place. What did he land in when they threw him in that hole? Lion waste? What did he hear? Silence? Lions breathing heavy? Lions roaring in his face? I expect Daniel spent every minute praying the Lord would protect him, and every minute the Lord did. But every minute was very long. Every second felt like an eternity. With every breath Daniel took, the lions took one, too. With every growl of hunger Daniel felt in his empty stomach, he heard the lions growl, too.

I imagine with the faith he had, he knew the Lord would protect him. Yet, I wonder the lies he wrestled that lonely, scary night.

I just think I've always been handed a watered down "story" of Daniel in the den of lions. Oh, so this guy broke the law for obeying God and was thrown in with the lions. But God sent an angel to close the mouth of the lions. Here's your take home that God is always with you, even in scary situations. Amen.

Blah.

How about that life is scary. And hard. And sometimes I can't see my hand in front of my face. And I really wonder where God is even though I thought I was doing exactly what he wanted me to do. I can feel the warm breath of the lion on my neck, and I've already wet my pants in fear. Yet, I stand firm, whispering the truths of the gospel. It doesn't make it easy. It doesn't take away how scary this situation is. Scary situations will exist. My fear of them can be changed as perfect love casts out fear.

If God provided for Daniel through a night in a den of lions, I should be confident in his ability to provide for me, too. Yet, I'm usually quick to doubt and complain. May the Lord teach me what it looks like to trust him to provide, especially when life is scary and hard.


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