I Laugh in the Face of Danger
by Mary Alice McGinnis
In the Disney movie, “The Lion King,” the young lion cub, Simba - future king of the jungle - is exploring outside the boundaries of their pride land. He is accompanied by his young female lion cub friend, Nala. They come upon a deserted area scattered with elephant bones – the elephant graveyard.
It feels ominous, scary, creepy, and even a little dangerous. Trying to impress the frightened Nala, Simba walks confidently up to a very large elephant skull bone and pridefully boasts, “Danger? Ha! I walk on the wild side. I laugh in the face of danger. Ha, ha, ha!”
Was Simba displaying bravery or arrogance? That elephant graveyard was the turf of the hyenas. Those hyenas could have easily had these little cubs as an afternoon snack. This young prince cub let his inflated confidence in himself lead him not to be courageous, but reckless and foolish. And he soon found himself vulnerable and defenseless.
So where does the line fall between reckless foolishness and bravery?
Many us have heard the story of Daniel in the lion’s den since we were children. It is a story of amazing courage. Yet Daniel really did nothing special. He just lived his life every day as one dedicated to God. Although he was in a foreign land, living in exile, among those who did not believe in the One True God, he remained faithful. His practice was to pray to his God and talk to Him daily. Those around him noticed – and it led some of them to turn against him.
In today’s reading, the king mentions twice:
“May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Doesn’t it make you wonder what was going through Daniel’s mind as he was forcibly shut in this fierce den of lions? Did he wonder if he would survive? Daniel knew, as did the king, that there would be no escape. The mouth of the den was sealed with the King’s seal. He knew this attack against him was due to his allegiance to God and he was truly innocence of doing anything against the king.
Perhaps in those moments God brought to his mind the distressed prayer David scribed in Psalm 22:21 - “Rescue me from the mouth of the lions.”
Bold confidence placed in things that will fail us is only reckless foolishness. If we place our trust in ourselves to fix all our problems, to make all the right decisions, to be strong enough to withstand the dangers that lurk all around us, we will most certainly be crushed.
But Daniel’s courageous confidence as he stood in the lion den was not dependent upon himself. He was rescued by the unstoppable, all-seeing, all powerful, transcended God. This One True God, Daniel had spent his lifetime knowing.
Though the king questioned it, Daniel knew his God was able and willing to conquer evil even when the circumstances seemed impossible.
It wasn’t Daniel’s prayer life that rescued him. It wasn’t his dedication or his courage. His courage and singleheartedness were only a result of knowing the One whom he trusted implicitly. Daniel knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if these lions devoured him, he would still be delivered into the hands of the One who triumphs ever over death itself.
Paul echoes this in Philippians 1: 19-21. "For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
No matter what circumstances you find yourself today, spend some time talking to God. Meditate upon His Word. Tell Him everything, and let Him speak to you.
Lift your heart in praise to Him who has already overcome.
Surrounded by Upperoom