|November 28, 2019
Finding Peace When We’re Tempted to Panic
“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” Daniel 6:10 (ESV)
Nothing can throw me into a pit quite like circumstances I can’t control. It’s that place where anxiety threatens to swallow me whole as my mind races through all of the fear-inducing what-ifs and unknowns.
That’s why I’m so thankful for the example set by Daniel in Scripture. Daniel 6:1-15 gives us such a clear picture of what we can do when all that feels safe and secure in our lives begins to come under attack.
In Daniel 6:10, Daniel has just learned that anyone caught praying to someone besides King Darius will be thrown into the lion’s den. Can you imagine the level of fear this edict could have stirred up in Daniel? He easily could have found himself in a pit of despair before he ever came close to that pit full of lions. But Daniel’s reaction is amazing.
Daniel goes home, throws his windows open and prays anyway. I wonder if I could have been so brave?
And do you know what he chose to pray?
“God, save me!”
“God, it’s not fair!”
“God, this is too much!”
“God, smite my enemies and wipe them out!”
No. None of the above.
Daniel 6:10b tells us Daniel spoke prayers of gratitude. “He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”
Since Daniel’s response is so opposite of the way most of us would react, it makes me stop and ponder. And what I discover are three powerful truths I want to both remember and live out.
1) Thankfulness must become a habit.
Our initial responses are usually a by-product of the rituals we’ve established in our life. Since gratitude-filled prayers were Daniel’s reaction, that tells me gratitude and trust in God were front and center in Daniel’s heart. Daniel was able to give thanks, even in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances, because it was a habit he’d already formed in his life.
2) Fighting fear begins the moment we start giving thanks.
Being a thankful person seemed to help Daniel combat fear. Never once does the story mention Daniel trying to hide. He didn’t set about trying to control or manipulate his situation. He simply threw his windows open and prayed where anyone and everyone could see.
This wasn’t Daniel living in denial of his circumstances. This was Daniel turning to God in the midst of his circumstances.
3) We can’t always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our eyes on God.
Daniel’s posture during prayer is revealing. First, we see Daniel was praying toward Jerusalem — a posture based on King Solomon’s words in 1 Kings 8:35-51 during the temple dedication. Daniel knew where his help and his hope came from — it came from God, and God alone.
Daniel’s deep level of trust is also revealed in that he was kneeling as he prayed. Prostration is a sign of both self-awareness and God-awareness. (1 Kings 8:54, Ezra 9:5, Luke 22:41, Acts 7:60) It’s an act of deep humility. We may not always be kneeling when we pray, but we can always choose the posture of Daniel’s heart.
Let’s ask the Lord to help us humbly and gratefully fix our eyes on Him instead of fixating on our problems today. And let’s allow Daniel’s life to be proof to our hearts that the words of Isaiah 26:3 are indeed true: God is able to keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on Him, because they trust in Him.
Father God, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit of fear and discouragement. But we don’t have to stay there. Today, we’re choosing to fix our eyes on You. And we’re remembering that each thing we verbalize our thankfulness for is like a steppingstone out of the pit we’ve been in. Thank You for providing Your timeless truths that prove to us over and over again how powerfully capable You always are. With You by our side, we have no need to fear. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 7:17, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.” (NIV)
Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (ESV)
Start finding relief from fear or doubt about how things will turn out with 10 scriptural truths you can declare over your situation in Lysa TerKeurst’s new Bible study on 1 and 2 Kings, Trustworthy. Order your copy here today.
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 writing team with our free First 5 app.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What helps you purposefully choose peace over panic? We’d love for you to join in the conversation here today.
© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
John 14:1-5 ESV
How Can We Know?
By Lisa Supp
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”—John 14:6 (NKJV)
Jesus’ words in today’s verse come on the heels of a preparatory statement given to His disciples. Words of hope and comfort. “Do not be troubled,” He had told them. “I will prepare a place for you in My Father’s house; where I’m going, I will receive you, and you will know the way” (vs. 1, paraphrased).
Thomas responded, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? (vs. 5)
I’m so glad Thomas asked this question.
So many people hold a deceived understanding of what we must “do” to get to heaven—just be a good person. But Jesus clearly tells us that He is the way, He is the truth, He is the life. David Guzik writes, “In light of soon events, this declaration was a paradox. Jesus’ way would be the cross; He would be convicted by blatant liars; His body would soon lie lifeless in a tomb. Because He took that way, He is the way to God; because He did not contest the lies we can believe He is the truth; because He was willing to die He becomes the channel of resurrection—the life to us.”
The words “I am” were spoken centuries prior by God to Moses (Exodus 3:14). As Moses questioned the Lord as to what His name was, God’s response was that He is all-sufficient, in fact utterly self-sufficient, self-directed, and eternal: “I AM WHO I AM.” He was all Moses needed in any situation at any given time. And still, He is to us.
It is not by coincidence that Jesus chose these words to reveal Himself. “I am the way”—sufficient direction; “the truth”—sufficient truth; “the life”—sufficient eternality. He was saying He is God and affirms that to Philip moments later that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Thomas had his answer. Days later, when he touched the holes in Jesus’ hands, did those words echo in his heart? All at once he grasped that Jesus’ atonement was the way; His fulfillment of prophecy as a Savior was truth revealed; His life given so sinners could have eternal life with the Father.
Doubt dismissed, Thomas cried, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 NKJV). Have you cried those words?
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”—Acts 4:12 (NASB)
DIG: If you live a good life and do good, will you go to heaven?
DISCOVER: If the above question is true, what is the purpose of Christ’s atonement?
DO: If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please let your doubt lead you to seek and see what the Lord will show you—and what He will be to you.