Strengthened (A Daniel Heart part 5)

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1659 painting by Rembrandt
1659 painting by Rembrandt

The visions Daniel had in his later years were rich—centuries and kingdoms compressed into a few God-chosen symbols.  But the visions were also troubling, draining.

We usually think of visions as inspiring–giving light to an otherwise obscure path.  But sometimes that light illuminates a mess.

Have you ever needed strength after looking at a energy-draining vision?  Perhaps a vision of worldly “success”or your own to-do list?

How did Daniel regain his strength in his Babylon?  How can we regain our strength in ours?

 

First–Be Honest

When the divine messenger spoke to him, Daniel replied “I have no strength.”

When you hear God’s call do you respond with the same honesty?   Or do you say “Now I must add this to my to do list—which is already running over?”

Second—Look for Divine Help

A person “like the son of man”,” Daniel recalled, “came to me.”

In our day God usually doesn’t send a divine messenger, but we do have access to the Holy Spirit, as Daniel did, and centuries worth of scripture that he did not have—including Daniel’s own record.

Third—Listen to God’s Message

“O man, greatly beloved,” the divine being said, “fear not, peace be unto thee, be strong, be strong.”

So much strength and power in such a short message! And the message to Daniel so long ago is God’s message for us in the here and now.

Let’s look at it closer.

“Greatly Beloved”.  The message to Daniel started with a sure foundation—a foundation that is rock solid and unchanging.

Pres. Thomas S. Monson spoke of that foundation this way: “Heavenly Father loves you — each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you deserve love. It is simply always there.”

Simply there.  The beginning of our strength.

“Fear Not”Fear is destructive.  It erodes energy and strength. It stops us from seeing and being what God would have us see and be.   

It is said that “Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.”

To grow in strength Daniel had to ‘fear not’.

“Peace be Unto You”.  At the last supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would teach the apostles and remind them of Jesus’ words.  But the Spirit had another function, underscored by Jesus’ title for the Spirit–“the Comforter”.  This function was also underscored in his next words to his apostles “Peace I leave with you…”

The Lord left peace, but not as the world gave it–a common greeting.  Rather Peace as another description, title for the Holy Spirit.  One of his fruits, Paul would later declare.

Daniel had the choice to accept ‘peace’ as the Lord gave it–with all the power inherit in that admonition.

“Be Strong, Be Strong”.  A command? —“Be strong because I tell you to!”  or a divine bestowal—“Be strong because I am your strength, my love, my faith, my peace in your heart and mind…”?

I think it was a divine bestowal. And a double portion of strength at that!

Touch of the Master’s Hand

Having honestly admitted his weakness, looked to the Lord, received the message of hope and consolation Daniel was then in a position to receive the desired strength.

“He touched me,” Daniel wrote, “ and my strength returned.”

 Our Day

Need a double portion of strength to meet the demands of your day and follow God’s leading?  Then ‘dare to be a Daniel’!

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