You may have heard recently that the United States of America has elected a new President. This election has caused diverse reactions from multiple groups of people. For many people, it has been the source of much consternation and distress, and for others, well, the phrase exuberant glee comes to mind.
I assume that most of the readers of this, like myself, fall into the former camp. Most of us are feeling at least a little perturbed after the events of the last year. Between pandemics, riots in the streets, riots in the nation’s Capitol building, and a national election with seriously questionable procedures and results, you might say that things have not gone exactly splendidly.
But the question that remains is this: what are we supposed to do, exactly? How do we live when things aren’t going the way we wish they were?
I think some wisdom can be found in the biblical account of Daniel. The first six chapters of Daniel are six separate narratives, and each one gives a distinct answer to the questions asked above. But there is also a common idea found in all of them.
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food... (Daniel 1:8)
Things were definitely not going splendidly for Daniel and his friends. They had been ripped from their homeland, their families were probably dead, the temple was in ashes, and they were being asked to serve a new king and a new god. Time after time, their faith and values were tested. You know the stories. But the four young Hebrews never folded. They always looked around, identified what was right and what was wrong, and then took their stand. Keep in mind, they worked to be at peace with the pagans around them. They weren’t insurrectionists. But they never abandoned their principles, their heritage, or their God.
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. (Daniel 4:34)