[Today’s devotion about perseverance is a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to get my content sent straight to your inbox.]
Read: Daniel 6:1-10
Today’s Scripture: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
The mountain standing tall behind my house has caught fire three times over a fifteen-year period. As a young child, I watched in awe as helicopters flew up to dump large buckets of water on the blazing mountain peak. Even though they were able to put out the fire, I was saddened that many of the plants on the mountain would die.
But that wasn’t necessarily the case.
The mountain is populated by pitch pine, a resilient pine tree species. Pitch pine isn’t afraid of fire; in fact, it thrives on it. How? Many of the tree’s cones are sealed with resin. When the resin is melted by fire, its seeds can be released.
In the face of what many of us would consider a challenge, the pitch pine perseveres. The fire brings it new life, sprouting new seeds in the fire’s wake.
Daniel also didn’t give up in the face of a challenge.
Daniel, the prophet responsible for the biblical book of the same name, set himself apart as an exceptional (Daniel 6:3) and trustworthy (v. 4) man. Because of these qualities, he was first in line for a prestigious promotion.
Observing that Daniel was favored by King Darius, the satraps and other administrators plotted to take Daniel out of the equation. They knew that Daniel faithfully prayed to God. With this in mind, they convinced the king to issue an edict declaring that, for the next 30 days, anyone praying to any being beside the king would be thrown into the lions’ den (vs. 7-9).
If you’ve ever found your ministry, work, or personal goals threatened even though you’ve been working hard and doing your best to please God through all of it, your situation may be similar to Daniel’s. Like an ecosystem endangered by fire, you may worry that this one challenge may destroy all you’ve worked for.
In light of such a challenge, it’s easy to become discouraged and give up. You may be considering relinquishing a dream, a hope, or a vision.
This troublesome edict wasn’t enough to keep Daniel from praying. He didn’t do it halfway either: Instead of quietly keeping his prayers in his head until the 30 days were over, he continued to get down on his knees and pray, just as he had before (v. 10).
You may be familiar with the rest of the account. Daniel got caught and was thrown into the lions’ den. But that wasn’t the end of his story. God shut the mouths of the hungry lions, protecting Daniel until he was released the next day (vs. 19-23). Amazed at God’s power, Darius praised God (vs. 26-27). Daniel’s testimony turned the heart of a king.
Just as the pitch pine flourishes in the face of adversity, so can we.
Challenges and discouragement try to keep us from being the best we can be. Daniel didn’t back down from the challenge he faced, and God was glorified through it. Similarly, the pitch pine takes a troubling situation (fire) and turns it into new life (seeds). Instead of being defeated by adversity, we can continue to give God our best and watch him use those challenges as a springboard to something greater.
With God’s direction, keep pursuing your ministry, your dream, or your passion. Hold onto the apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9: “ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Today’s Thoughts: What challenges are you currently facing that are threatening your work, ministry, or personal goals? Like Daniel, are you honoring God in what you’re doing? If so, how can Daniel’s story encourage you to keep pursuing the vision God’s given you?