What do you do when things are difficult? Not going your way? Is it tough going?

Unfortunately, oftentimes I tend to complain, whine or feel sorry for myself. Throw in a pinch of worry and I am all set.

But that is not God’s plan for us or His prescription on how to handle life’s difficult situations.

I have recently been involved in a small group study of the book of Daniel which has proven very instructive. As a teen, Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were taken as prisoners to Babylon and forced into service for King Nebuchadnezzar. As described in Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a strange and powerful (disturbing) dream. The King summoned all the “wise men” of the kingdom (magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers (v.2)) to tell him what the dream was and what it meant. If they could not, they and their families would all be killed. Their response to the King as recorded in v. 11 was “What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the King except the gods, and they do not live among men.”

Daniel’s response to this seeming impossible request is instructive. First, he goes to his three godly friends. Next, he asks them to pray with him for God’s help and mercy. God, in His mercy, revealed the mystery to Daniel in a vision. Daniel’s response was to immediately praise God and acknowledge His wisdom and power. When Daniel correctly revealed the dream and the interpretation to King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel gave all the credit to God as the source. In response, a pagan king exclaims in v.47 that “surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings.” The result was that Daniel and his friends received high positions in the king’s court and all the “wise men” and their families were spared.

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The lesson for me is to give all my problems over to God. Look for support from Christian friends and family. Pray for God’s wisdom and direction. And most of all, give Him thanks for his answer to prayer in His time.

“Oceans rise and empires fall but the kingdom of God rules over all.” (C. Trieweiler)

Rick Rudolph is a member of Living Savior Lutheran Church.