Tag Archives: Daniel

Veil of Tears 107: In the Dark

107 lion-515029_1280 designerpoint pixabay

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Daniel 6:16 NIV

At the time of writing, my heart is heavy because of several swords of Damocles that are hanging over myself and my loved ones. They are things that will decide our futures, where we live and how we live. If the sword falls one way, we might find freedom, another, and we’ll be trapped or hurt. Things aren’t exactly going to plan. My plan that is. And I think of Daniel, about to be thrown into the lions’ den, and though of course his peril was far greater than ours, I wonder if he thought along similar lines. “This wasn’t really how I imagined it would be, Lord, to follow you, to pray so fervently for your people, and care about their well-being, and end up preparing to be torn limb from limb.”

“Is this really your plan?!” We cry in out in our hearts. “Is this seriously the best you could come up with?”

And we think and feel like that because we can’t see what God can see. Because it does look back to front and topsy-turvy, and it really does hurt. And waiting for lions to devour us is pretty scary. But, suppose God is even greater than we imagine, and the lions are going to have their mouths shut by an angel he sends? And then our faith will be even stronger, and our blessings more obvious to count, and our gratitude deeper and set on wiser foundations.

So no, I can’t see in the dark whether there is an angel standing guard or not. I don’t know if those mouths are shut tight or bearing glistening sharp teeth at me, jowls slathering at the thought of tearing the flesh from my bones. No more do I know why the Lord keeps us in the dark so many times in our lives. But I do know that I can trust him, whatever happens. I do know that even when Nebuchadnezzar’s guards roll that stone across the mouth of the den, with me on the wrong side of it, that my God is the one who knows how to rescue me, and that he has a history of setting his hapless beloveds free, of calling them out of caves, of shutting the mouths of lions and opening the mouths of tombs.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

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52: Stumbling

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Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” Daniel 11:35 NIV

Failure can be humiliating, difficult and, for those used to success, uncomfortable to the point of distressing. Being wise is clearly no safeguard against falling down. It can happen to the best of us. We all make mistakes. But perhaps surprisingly to our achievement driven capitalism, getting it wrong now and again can be very valuable, and that applies in a worldly sense as well as a spiritual one.

James Dyson went bankrupt a number of times before finally convincing the world that his vacuum cleaners were the best they could buy. Estee Lauder, Walt Disney and Henry Ford all had several massive failures before hitting the big time, even though now they are touted as proof of the American Dream. This isn’t an aim of ours as Christians of course, but we can take the lesson from this that failure is a great teacher. Making mistakes is the best way of learning. I’ve found it’s the same with discovering who we are in Christ. We often need to find out who we are not, before it becomes very clear who we are.

Experiencing time face down in the dust gives us the gift of true humility, which is really just being earthed in the truth. We know our limits, our potential, our true worth, our giftings without polishing them with a false shine or dulling them with false modesty.

In truth, it is only when we have fallen so far down and tasted mud, and eaten husks meant for pigs, that we can truly also know and savour the taste of grace. Trials purify us, for they are the birthplace not only of humility, but of faith, and as James also tells us, of perseverance and therefore character. In short, troubles, failures, difficulties, stumbling and falling down are the pitstops on the road to becoming our true selves. Without them we might be wise, but understand nothing of the journey we are all on.

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photograph public domain

44: Exhausted

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I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” Daniel 8:27 NIV

Thinking I would be too tired today to write another entry (I write two on a Saturday so that I don’t have to work on the Sabbath), I thought I may as well use that and ponder exhaustion. I’m very familiar, thanks to my chronic illness, with physical and mental exhaustion and the emotional lability that comes with it. But in this verse, Daniel is suffering from yet another kind of being wiped out. He has vision fatigue. My diagnosis is spiritual exhaustion.

I’ve noticed that, even in my own small way as a mystic, with the revelations, pictures and words that the Lord gives me, or the intercessions that he asks me to make, that exhaustion or feeling very ill often follows. The same is true of any spiritual ecstasies. If we pay attention in our reading, we see that this is something that all men and women of God have experienced. It is almost as though we have to pay for the high with a low. Hildegard of Bingen suffered bouts of illness after visions, as did Teresa of Avila, and in the Old Testament we see this here with Daniel and also perhaps most dramatically with Elijah. After the great prophet has dealt with the priests of Baal with immense faith and energy, he is floored by a death threat and runs for his life, ending up completely exhausted and full of woes to the point of being suicidal.

The Lord’s response to this is encouraging, for he does not berate Elijah, and he continues to favour Daniel, as he did both these female doctors of the church. God understands what his faithful devoted servants suffer, and they are always allowed time to rest and recover from what they have done or received in his service. Elijah is brought cake and water by angels, and told he must recover his strength “for the journey.” It might have seemed an odd thing for God to tell him that there was more to do, but I think knowing that more purpose awaited him was helpful and motivation to this man of God laid so low. To know God has never finished with us is a great boon, and to know that it is okay to stop and recover ourselves, and that the exhaustion is normal, is also a big help.

Sabbath is all about this of course, and so Sunday for Christians and Friday sundown through to Saturday sundown for Jews is a sacred time for all, but perhaps especially for those of us who are worn out. Rest is part of God’s creation too, and he set us a great example in sitting back and enjoying his handiwork on the seventh day. If the Lord and his greatest prophets all needed a break, you can guarantee that the rest of us do too. If nothing else, we need time to step back from all we are doing in the week and evaluate what is good as well as letting the visions settle and mature before they run off with us.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Not sure where the photo is from – will come back and rectify this later 🙂