Wednesday – October 22, 2014; Daniel 6:16 – 12
16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” 17 A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
19 Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. 20 When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den.
When I was growing up, I lived in a rough area, although my street looked nice, and the houses were well-kept, the city had experienced a lot of changes, and often just walking down the street (at day or night) could be an adventure!
However, it became more of an adventure for me when I had a paper route. I delivered to about 100 homes, and while I made my deliveries early in the morning, when I did not have too many problems (except the time a kid tried to ride off with my shopping cart full of newspapers, and I had to knock him off of his bike with it); I had to collect payment from my customers on Saturday and Sunday afternoons…when I was carrying a lot of money and was often seen as an easy target of ne’er-do-wells!
I had several run-ins, with some of the more troublesome elements of the neighborhood, but was able to talk my way out of trouble most of the time. Sometimes I would start to cry and claim that if I lost the money my father would beat me, as it was his liquor money (of course my dad never laid a hand on me, and seldom had more than one glass of wine at night before bed). This story kept me safe for a while (I even had one guy pat me on the back and tell me he understood because his dad was the same way); however, one time all my talking and crying did not help, and I wound up surrounded by a group of kids with a knife at my throat!
At that moment my whole world narrowed down to the kid in front of me and the knife. When he demanded my money despite my tears and cajoling, I reached into my pocket to get my cash, and for a moment took my eyes off of the knife, and when I looked up, all the kids were gone! In their place was an idling Police Car! The officer told me to get into the car and he took me home. When he dropped me off he suggested that I take my dog with me when I collected for the paper, I thanked him and took his advice…and it worked!
From then on, I had no more problems and my dog helped me to stay safe, and she loved taking those long walks!
As single parents, we may sometimes feel as if we are on our own in an unknown and sometimes unsafe neighborhood, on our own, with no help! When I became a single father I felt like I had no clue what I was doing…and now, almost 18 years later I know that I did not have a clue about this single parenting thing…and sometimes I still find myself making things up as I go along!
Single parenting can leave us feeling a bit like I did when I was walking through that bad neighborhood making my collections, or like Daniel did in the Lion’s Den: afraid, uncertain, and a bit overwhelmed! However, there is good news for us as we, like Daniel, have faith that we are NOT alone, and NOT left unprotected in the dark and dangerous places we may walk…as it is God who is walking with us, keeping the Lions from devouring us, and ensuring that we make it through the night safely, and come out the better for it, as the trials we endure can only make us stronger and wiser!
Not only does God help us like He did with Daniel, God also gives us support when we find ourselves in a position like the king in the story; as the king spent the night worrying that Daniel would be devoured, but rejoiced when he found that his friend had made it through the night. Just as with the king, God gives us hope when we are worried about our children when they are out in the world, and possibly at risk (often due to their own bad choices).
We have hope in knowing God is watching over our children when they find themselves in their own Lion’s Den, and in the fact that God knows what it is like to be a parent, loving and worrying about their children. We also have hope in knowing that we are never go into the Lion’s Den (or a bad neighborhood) alone…as we face all of our challenges together, as God often reaches out to us through the faith we share with each other!
Hope in knowing that it is the light of Christ, which we carry together, that shows us our way through the darkness we may find ourselves in as single parents…leading us to experience the joy of living in God’s loving grace…joy that frees us from worry, allowing us to fully enjoy the great gift of helping our children grow into adults.
Let Us Pray
Dear God, thank you for surrounding us with your grace and love…which can light our way through any darkness or frustration we may face as we live our lives as single parents. Help us to carry this light with us in all we do, sharing it with others, and reminding them that they are not alone when they find themselves in the Lions’ Den…or when they are worried about their children who may be facing Lions of their own. Let us show compassion for each other, and not be too proud to accept the support of those around us, as we travel through the bad neighborhoods of our lives; and to be grateful that we never travel alone.