“Since the first day that you set your mind
to gain understanding and to humble yourself
before your God, your words were heard…”
Daniel 10:12 (NIV)
As we come to the New Year with all of its uncertainties, we each have certain desires or hopes for the future. Perhaps we wish to lose weight, to break from a personal habit, to get the sorrows of 2011 behind us and move on, or some other wish. It seems appropriate at the time of new calendars to be making vows to do this or cease that in our lives.
Certainly for some the past year brought heartache that will not soon be forgotten. You may have lost your job, a loved one passed away, some illness invaded your space and is not going away. There are as many sorrows as there are days.
As we come to the verse for today we are introduced to a rather remarkable Hebrew man named Daniel.
When he was but a teenager he and many like him were forced into exile in a foreign country. He lived his adult life there and though he rose to a very high place in the government of the country, he was still longing for his homeland.
Many of Daniel’s people had recently returned to their own country to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem and begin a new chapter in their existence as God’s nation.
Word had come back to Daniel, who was still in exile, that the work of rebuilding the temple had stopped. Daniel was deeply disappointed and went into mourning over this difficult situation.
God sent an angel to His faithful servant who had been so devoted for so many years and spoke the words recorded in our verse today. God told Daniel was he was greatly loved and that his prayers were important to God because Daniel had first sought to walk well with God in exile over 70 years ago.
God respected Daniel and heard his prayers. Daniel had honoured God through the difficult years of exile and God would now honour him in return by attending to his prayers.
As you reflect on your life, perhaps you see that you had the burden of living life as a single when you wished to be married, or you married but were not blessed with children, or you had some long term disability that kept you from marriage, a career, and the other things people usually enjoy as adults. For some life is full of disappointments and struggles.
The comfort God offered to Daniel so long ago is a word for you as you look at another year of unwanted difficulties. Your prayers are heard in heaven and your voice is welcome in God’s house. All who faithfully and humbly follow the Lord shall eventually find a glorious conclusion to their pilgrimage here in this life.
The amazing prospect before each child of God is that they shall be given an eternity that is glorious beyond imagination. Is this your ultimate hope child of God?
If in this life you have had great challenges and sorrows beyond measure, then in the life to come your reward will be so incredible that you shall soon forget the pain experienced here. Meanwhile the voice of God is heard through the Bible, sermons, godly Christians, providence, and your prayers.
Come to your heavenly Father and make your issues known to Him. Call on Him to be faithful to you as He was to Daniel so long ago. Come to Him before the year ends with this prayer and the year ahead will be easier to bear. Come, and come now.