A number of my black brothers and sisters have told me in the past few weeks that they’ve had trouble sleeping. Many of us are afflicted by this at times of distress, sorrow, or anxiety. But I don’t ever recall friends being so afflicted, or sharing it so openly.
I was reading the story of Daniel, one of my favorites, and a certain passage took on new depth in light of these recent events. Recall that the king was very fond of Daniel. Respected him deeply. He was distraught over the treatment Daniel was receiving yet felt bound – helpless – even though he was the king. After they threw Daniel in the den of lions and sealed the stone the text says “the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.”
It’s a strange scene. The ONE GUY who you think would have the power to save Daniel does not. He simply endures a sleepless night in anguish for his friend. It feels twisted. I find myself asking, “dude, why didn’t you save him!?” I’m sure deeper contextual study would reveal he was somehow bound, perhaps at risk of his own life. But it nonetheless leaves you feeling so frustrated with the king.
Then comes the next morning, revealing the king’s nascent faith.
“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
He had clearly been hoping God was going to save Daniel. Who knows whether he believed God would – but maybe he laid awake all night wondering, “is this God real? Could he save a man from lions? If he does, what will I do?”
I know for a fact many of my friends are not like the paralyzed king – they are taking serious action to lift our nation and their communities. But I do wonder if there’s some deeper truth for us all here:
When we feel helpless, or indeed are, and unable to sleep because we are so distraught, perhaps early in the morning, while it is still dark, we could approach the den, yea, the tomb, with hope that there is life inside. That what Satan intended for evil and death, God has turned to good, and to life, even life everlasting.
Grace and Peace,
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