While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight... He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision."
~ Daniel 9: 21-23
This morning as I was getting things together to start my day I found that a close friend of mine had shared something very personal. A child I have known since she was very young, and now a mother of three beautiful daughters, has disappeared.
Not literally disappeared, but stolen away by a bad relationship that has now filled her life with drugs and a series of bad decisions that has left the family torn and broken.
Her mother has basically thrown her own hands into air, as if to surrender to the situation, declaring, "I give up."
This is a situation that we seem to find happening in all areas of our society. None of us are immune to some kind of addiction. Maybe it doesn't resemble this situation, the fact that each of us understands the word "addiction" reminds us that we all suffer from something.
Gabriel comes to Daniel as he begins to pray and shares, "You have already been given the answer."
Even the person who suffers from some kind of addiction remembers a day when the addiction didn't exist. So often it is fear, or the idea of not being able to feel a certain way, that keeps us away from being able to take that first step to getting healthy.
It's as if Gabriel is saying, "God already knows before you ask for help, and has a plan."
So often though, we are quick to say, "Amen," and overlook or miss the answer.
With such characters like Daniel, comes new understandings of how God works. While we know that Daniel faces lions who suddenly weren't hungry. A man Jonah get's swallowed by a fish and is not digested. Three men are tossed into a fiery furnace and walk away without as much as a tan. All of these situations are not just hard to wrap our minds around, but the fact that they survived leaves us asking ourselves, "What just happened?"
I am reminded that God does not protect them from the situation happening. God doesn't sweep in and destroy everyone who seems to have a problem with these Biblical greats. Instead, they become Biblical greats because God protects them in the situation.
So it is with us.
For each of us, God has provided us with the answer to a situation long before it happens. Unfortunately it's not until it gets so bad that something happens that gets our attention to realize what the answer is. I lovingly refer to these as life's "speed bumps."
Events that happen in our lives that cause us to slow down, or to stop what we are doing so that we may take time to listen. Often the addiction even prevents the person from seeing the road, or the pot hole that is waiting to swallow up the person.
Many of us are addicted to the human "rat race," and become so caught up in it, that we hardly even know what to ask God for. And when we do finally stop and ask, do we wait, or even take the time to hear the answer because we must move on, or ignore the answer because it will mean that we must change! It's as if we all understand the addiction to say, "Amen," so quickly that God is not even given the oppirtunity!
So often when we do ask God about a situation, we are so quick on the "Amen" that we miss the answer.
While I'm aware that overcoming an addiction is not always about listening to God. Sometimes it also takes the strength of others to help. Praying for all who seemed to be struggling with something this day, and praying that as they seek to change, theybare able to stop long enough to know that God has a plan, and the courage and strength to wait, rather than aimply closing with an "Amen," and still waiting.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.