We are studying the book of Daniel in church right now. Its a book, I read a hundred times as a kid. Its full of neat stories, but it isnt just a book about lions dens, writing on the wall and a fiery furnace, its a book demonstrating Gods sovereignty and power. Daniel and his people were taken into captivity. He and a few others are placed into the direct charge of the king, even as teenagers. Their names are changed as a direct act of defiance to God. They are forced to assimilate into the Babylonian culture. But, even as a young teenager, Daniel chooses, despite his unfortunate situation, to serve God. He chooses, to put His God, the God who also put him in captivity, above all else. God saw this and blessed Daniel and was able to use him for his work. Daniel chose not to be a victim of circumstance. He purposed in his heart, to use circumstance to glorify God above all else. I have often heard this lesson before…we should all be like Daniel. Its true, but there is another key player in this book, from whom we can probably more easily identify and learn from. Thats the king, Nebuchadnezzar. A wicked man with a hard heart, who likes to use God to His purpose and glory.
One year ago today, Darren and I received the devastating news that our baby had no heartbeat. The baby that we had already grown so attached to and so excited about, would not be born. I spent the next few months dealing with another loss and a heap of health issues. Every aspect of my life was effected. I felt like I was drowning. Alone, forgotten…the only thing I could say to God is “WHY”. I knew I was supposed to feel comforted because God had a plan and that he could use me for good if I let Him. I knew what I was supposed to feel and do, but no desire to actually try to do it.
Last Sunday, we learned about Daniel ch. 4. In this chapter, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, Daniel interprets the dream for him. It basically says, that if he chose not to acknowledge God as Lord, he would be forced to become like an animal, eating grass, wet with dew, reduced to nothing. Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man in the world. He chose, defiantly, not to accept God and before his words left his lips, he became like that of a beast. After 7 spans of time, he regained his senses and knew, in that moment, that God was Lord. Nebuchadnezzar had paid lip service to God, throughout Daniel many times, but his heart was still hard, until this point. Once he acknowledged God as Lord, he is restored to his throne and his power and riches are more than before his fall.
The point of the message this week, is how much we are often like Nebuchadnezzar, quick to offer lip service, but not so quick to offer our heart and our life. I have very often been a Nebuchadnezzar. I can talk about God and His wonder and His plan. I can talk about how much I love Him, but when it comes to the daily application in my life, choosing His desires above my own, I cant say my heart has always believed and acted it. God used these trials, to “make me as a beast of the field” in order to open my eyes to His true character. How can I not be thankful for that! How can I not praise Him? I dont think, I fully understood, previously, how deeply He loves me. So many have said, “but if He loves you, why would he hurt you?” I can never fully understand the vision of God, as His vision and plan are too vast for my human brain to comprehend, but I do know, that my attention needed to be grabbed. There could not have been a more effective way to achieve that, then taking away my plan. I can only speculate how many chances I was given previously that I chose to ignore.
So whats the moral of the story. The way I see it, is God craves our relationship and our love. He desires to offer us the best. But, just like we often need to correct and guide our own children, so he also needs to correct and guide us. This isnt to make life miserable. This isnt because he is mean. Its because He knows our potential and wants to see us flourish. Its a message of Love. And just like its often difficult for my children to see that, in the moment I am offering them correction, over time, that love is better understood and accepted through maturity.
The silver lining to all of this, is that I am finally getting some answers in a long journey of strange and debilitating health issues. If it werent for the miscarriages, I would not have found my current doctor. If not for this current doctor, I would still be chasing my tail regarding my health, which has really been an issue for many years. Unfortunately, I cant have many tests done while pregnant, but we do have some working hypothesis as to why I pass out so often, why my heart races and why I have no endurance and why my iron is low. Testing will resume with more definitive answers after the baby is born. For now, I continue on bedrest until baby comes. I can be up, but have to monitor my pulse and blood pressure closely and really avoid going places alone, since its getting much harder to abort passing out when the symptoms do present. I will probably have to deliver hooked up to a heart monitor, which was not in my plan, but it does look like, I will be allowed to labor (as opposed to csection, which was originally mentioned), which is a huge answer to prayer! I got to see our little man’s face again this week, such a sweet face with chubby, round cheeks. He is a big boy, almost 6 lbs already with about 6 weeks left to grow! I simply cant wait to have this little guy in my arms. That moment is all I can think about lately.
So, as I continue to learn, God’s plan is perfect. It has a purpose. We cant always see and understand that purpose in the moment. Sometimes we require correction in order to have a better life and a better relationship with Christ. Heart service isnt always prosperity and favor. Sometimes, its pain and hard. But in that, there is love and support, when we choose to accept it.