Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king . . . But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.
—Daniel 1:3-5, 8-9

When things are going smoothly in your life, you might not find it hard to believe that God is good. But if life takes a bad turn and something devastating happens, you might ask, “How could a good God allow this?” If you know that kind of pain, then you can empathize with Daniel.

Across the pages of Scripture that detail Daniel’s life from teenager to old man, you can write, “Sovereignty at work.” God was directing his life whether he saw it at the time or not.

Do you know his story? One bright day in Jerusalem when Daniel was just a teenager, he was captured as a POW and was ripped away from everything warm and familiar. Daniel’s enemies were working a cruel strategy. They singled out the best young people—the all-American teenagers voted MVP and “Most Likely to Succeed” and brought them to their capital city near modern-day Kuwait. Their plan was to brainwash these kids with their culture and make them leaders. Daniel was given a foreign name, Belteshazzar, forced to learn a new language, and was given a new diet.

Had Daniel decided what God was like by looking at his circumstances, he would have become a disillusioned, confused, angry young man. Kidnapped from his homeland, forced into slavery, most likely castrated to become a eunuch in the palace, Daniel’s eyes were still on God. Don’t gloss over these facts like they’re from some made-for-TV movie. This story is true in every detail. Imagine the suffering connected with his circumstances, yet Daniel went through the fire—successfully. This certainly gives us hope that we can make it through the firestorm, too.

No doubt a situation comes to mind right now from either your past or your present. You may wonder how a God of love could have allowed some painful, wrong injustice. Yet, I would bet on the fact that you’ve not come full circle yet. There will be a day when you will look back and see how God’s sovereign hand was at work. Truth is, He is in the center of the situation that troubles your heart right now. He’s right in the middle of it.

Just because you can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Look for Him, trust Him—He is at work.

James MacDonald

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