Last night we started back to The Wednesday Experience after a four-month break. I am super excited to be teaching the Bible study and I thought that as a follow-up each week I would post a recap/reflection on Thursday mornings along with the verse of the week for those of you who want to take on the challenge of memorizing it. So these “Thursday Morning Thoughts” are specifically for those of you who are attending the Bible study but of course anyone who is interested is welcome to read them.
So the pic above is the verse to memorize for this next week. I layered it on a pic I took from Connecticut three years ago when I became an official “leaf peeper”—what a beautiful trip! Memorizing the scripture is completely optional and meant to support those of you who want to push yourself a little more—go a little deeper. Remember what we talked about last night. The verse is not saying that everything that happens is good. It simply states that God can and will bring good out of all situations for those who love Him. In the story we looked at last night in Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends found themselves in a very unfair situation. Many scholars believe they were about 15 years old when they were forcefully removed from their families and homes and exiled to a land very far away—Babylon. The Babylonians tried to strip them of their identity by changing their names and forced them into an educational program not of their choosing. All of this was not the result of their own rebelliousness, but rather the result of the rebelliousness of the generations who had lived before them. How was that fair?! Yet Daniel and his buddies chose to not respond with bitterness or discouragement or rebellion or by abandoning their faith. They drew a proverbial line in the sand and resolved (which means to be firm in purpose or intent, to settle) not to defile themselves with the king’s food. The Babylonian food may have been items which the Jewish dietary laws forbid them to eat and/or it may have been offered to Babylonian idols thus eating it would be participating in idol worship. Either way Daniel was not going to be stripped of his identity as a follower of God. He and his friends chose to trust God even in the midst of the unfair situation. By the end of the chapter we saw how God was beginning to bring good out of their situation giving them incredible favor with the king. We will see more over the coming weeks.
How about us? Will we trust God even when faced with unfair and painful circumstances? An antagonistic work environment, the break-up of a marriage or significant relationship, a sobering diagnosis from a doctor, being overlooked for a promotion, a rejection letter from the school of your dreams–these things are not good. But if we will trust God He will not only take us through the difficult experience, He will also bring good out of it. Trust Him! He is good and He is faithful! See you next Wednesday night for Daniel 2. Happy Thursday!