I find myself in Daniel 7 and 8. And it’s hard to read. I slow down. I back up. I pull out commentaries.
I see that many great theologians, like John Calvin and Martin Luther, have studied these words of prophecy and disagreed over their meaning.
And here I am, still in pajamas this early morning, still sleepy from keeping my four young nieces this weekend…thinking this is really, hard stuff.
As he saw the prophetic vision, Daniel, himself, became physically sick and grieved in his spirit (Dan 7:15-16) and sought someone to explain what he had seen.
As he recounts the vision in chapter eight, and was seeking the meaning, he hears a voice sending the angel, Gabriel, to explain the meaning to him.
“”Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright. And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.” (8:16-17)
Gabriel explains the rise and fall of kings and the persecution of the Jewish people.
And learning of all that would happen Daniel says, “And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; “ (Dan 8:27)
Daniel, the one who had bravely refused the king’s decree and emerged safely from the Lions Den, that same Daniel, who had seen God save his friends from the fiery furnace, fainted and was sick for days over what he understood would happen.
And here’s my simple girl take-away from this—
We can know God is faithful. We can know He’s even involved in the circumstances we are facing, but we can also still FEEL the heaviness and the hurt of them.
Trouble still feels like trouble to our human hearts even when we know God has allowed or brought about that trouble.
We still feel the effects of this fallen world. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are immune from that.
The sin of others still hurts us physically and (perhaps, worse) emotionally.
Sometimes, I think, we believe we are being faithless when we feel.
When asked how we are doing, some seem to think we are being unspiritual if we don’t respond “fine”, “blessed”, “great”.
But, the truth is, we don’t always feel “fine”, “blessed” and “great”.
God shows us, throughout His Word, so many examples of His faith-filled saints having moments of fear and dread. (Have you read the Psalms? There is a lot of wailing in there before the worshipping comes.)
And, you know, God must be okay with our emotions! After all, He created them.
And perhaps, like those who came before us, it’s okay to admit we have them, let’s stop acting like we are all fine, when many are feeling like they are ready to fall apart.
Let’s start telling a few, trustworthy, God-seeking- others the truth about how we are doing. Let’s be vulnerable.
But let’s also encourage one another and all the more as we see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25)
Let’s be honest enough to let ourselves be encouraged. Let’s check on each other. Let’s help each other hold tight to Jesus.
Let’s remember our tears don’t disqualify us.
God told His children, His beloved children, that they would have them…why else does He also tell us He will wipe them all away one day? (Rev 21:4)