Monday, March 8, 2010

Encouragement: Turn Tragedy into Triumph!

Innocent bystanders often get hurt by the mistakes and crimes of other people. DIsasters happen that haunt us for life even though we have no direct responsibility for the events that take place. Often the best way to handle these setbacks, however, is accept them and make the best of the situation.

Succes even through Misfortune!
When we read the book of Daniel in the Bible, we can see how Daniel and his friends were innocent bystanders. They suffered a lifelong exile to Babylon because of Judah's prolonged disobedience to God. But they did not let their misfortune destroy their relationship with God. With courage and faith in God, they faced the realities of exile and lived successful livs- even by Babylonian standards. Their lives give us insight into how to deal with tragedy.

Set Boundaries
After being taken from Jerusalem to babylon. Daniel and his friends were trained for service in the Babylonian government. Their captors often demanded that they do things that stood in opposition to God's revealed will for their lives. To protect their relationship with God, Daniel and his friends set clear boundaries for their behavior. They followed God's plan for their lives, despite its conflict with the commands of their strong-willed captors. God protected His faithful men from the foreign laws and unstable tyrants they lived under.

Have Determination, Faith and Courage
Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon for the sins of their ancestors. But they did not use that as an excuse for continued failure. Instead, they trusted God to redeem their lives and determined to live according to His will. Because of their faith and courage, God not only repeatedly delivered them from difficult circumstances, but He also used them prove His existence and power to others.

Life is Unfair
When we experience unfairness in life, the examples of Daniel and his three friends give us soem encouragement and direction. Despite his life of obedience., Daniel was not protected from God's judgment on Judah. Innocence does not automatically protect us from tragedy. We will all face it at time or another. But we do have the assurance that God is concerned about what we are doing and will honor our faithfulness and obedience.

God is in control even when life is out of control
Daniel's life was controlled by a powerful group of people, and he had no say in his future. Even though Daniel's life was out of his control, he trusted that God was still in control. Daniel was not merely the hapless pawn of selfish and unstable foreign rulers. He was in God's powerful and protecting hands. As Daniel was faithful to God and obeyed His commands, God delivered him from terrible situations, giving him freedom in the midst of his slavery.

God can do anything
If Daniel and his friends had not believed that God was Sovereign, they might have decided that compromising on God's will for them was better than risking their lives. But then they would not have experienced the glorious victories God gave them. God is greater than anything we might face. We need only to be willing to hand it all over to Him and follow His will for us.

Pain in the process of victory
Daniel and his friends sought to live according to God's plan, but they found that others opposed their efforts. This led initially to great danger, but ultimately to glorious victory. Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego had to walk through a fiery furnace because they obeyed God's will for them, but then only the ropes that bound them were burned by the fire. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because he was faithful to God, but he walked out unscathed. God used these trials to bring blessings to His servants and glory to Himself. As we seek to do God's will, He may lead us into some difficult situations. Often God uses such trials to bless us. We need to continually seek God and surrender to Him, no matter what difficulties we face. Ultimately, exaltation, victory and celebration belong to us. Amen.

Be Encouraged

A.Othniel
(www.aothniel.net)

Letter # 09 (7. 3. 2010)