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Petting the Lions

Updated: Feb 27

Lion's face in the dark

Most Christians know the story about Daniel in the Lion's Den. It's an inspirational tale about a man who chose to stay true to his faith and trust God for his safety. It's told in the Book of Daniel chapter 6. I encourage you to read it if you get the chance. It takes only a few minutes to complete.

But if you want a shorter version, here's my paraphrase. Essentially the story goes something like this. Daniel has been advancing quickly within his royal position. This is apparently due to the fact that he committed himself to serve God, act with integrity, serve with competence, and work hard. These traits impressed the king who planned to make Daniel his top administrator. This decision, however, is opposed by some of Daniel's fellow managers. Their opposition to Daniel's promotion probably stems from a combination of their disdain for his Jewish heritage, envy of his success, and a fear that Daniel, their new boss, will set high demands on their own work.

Hence, a plot was hatched by some of Daniel's coworkers to get him arrested and executed. As the story goes, these advisors trick the king into creating a law that they can use against Daniel. The plot goes according to their plan and Daniel is arrested. Ultimately, the king is displeased by Daniel's arrest, but he feels powerless to save Daniel from being dropped into a lion's den at the end of the day. The king does offer Daniel his condolences and tells him that he hopes Daniel's God will save him. The king then retires to his bedroom for the night, but is unable to sleep.

In the morning the king rushes to the den to determine if Daniel might have survived. To his great delight, the king learns that Daniel's God has protected him from the lions. In response, the king is impressed with Daniel's faith. Daniel is lifted out and the king orders Daniel's accusers to be thrown in. They are subsequently torn to pieces by the lions and devoured.

This vivid story provides a lesson about the goodness of God and the importance of trusting Him for one's safety and protection. Many Christians enjoy this story and remember it in detail.

But I wonder if they put much thought into what Daniel did overnight in the lion's den. Did Daniel sit quietly in the corner, praying fervently for protection, his heart beating rapidly, worried that he might meet a violent end at any moment? How do people imagine this nighttime scene?

I like to think that Daniel's faith was much stronger than we give him credit for. In contrast to the king's restless night, I imagine that Daniel strode boldly over to the lions and petted them like domesticated house cats. I mean think about it. God wasn't going to let Daniel be harmed. Hence, Daniel had an opportunity to handle the lions that everyone else feared.

That's the kind of trust Christians are called to. Our faith is not calling us to hide in a dark corner, quietly hoping that we might just get through somehow. No! We are being called to pet the lions.

What would "petting the lions" look like in the difficult situation you are currently going through?

(Credit: Lion photo by Ingo Stiller on Unsplash)

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