Just a few nights ago, I was telling my son one of those classic Old Testament stories at bedtime: Daniel and the lion’s den. After I had finished telling him how God tied up the mouths of the lions to save Daniel, I tried to sum up the moral of the story: “That’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to love Him all the time and do everything He asks of us. If we do these things and truly trust Him, He will protect us from the lions.” As soon as I finished that last sentence, I had a devastating realization. That's just not true.
It is what I had always been taught about the story. Have faith in God, and He will protect you. But looking at the entire Bible, I don’t believe it is in the character of God to protect His people from misfortune simply for being obedient and having faith. In fact, being told to take up our cross and follow Christ kind of eliminates any hope of blanket protection. Think about it. The majority of Christ’s twelve Apostles were reported to have been brutally killed simply for living out their faith as they had been instructed. Some of their stories were similar to that of Daniel in the lion’s den, yet they were not saved.
So where does that leave us? Does our faith and obedience lead to any sort of tangible blessing or protection? I believe it does, just not with the terms we would typically choose. Following God’s commands and always trusting in Him will certainly not protect us from every evil that exists here on earth. However, I believe that if we do those things, God will protect us and keep us on the right path to serve our purpose for Him.
Think back to the story of Daniel. What happened after the feline fiasco? Well, he was able to play a large role in freeing the Israelites from captivity under the Babylonians. After that, Daniel’s gift of prophecy became a bigger part of his ministry and God was able to send some very important messages through him. He obviously would not have been able to do that had the lions gotten their way.
“But wouldn’t God have just used somebody else to make those things happen?” you ask. I’m sure he would have. However, because he obeyed God and truly trusted Him, Daniel was able to carry out his purpose on earth. He was able to become who God wanted him to be. Isn’t that what all Christian’s want? It should be.
How are you preparing yourself to become the person God wants you to be?