A sports final match or a contested presidential election.
In those two paradigmatic “moments of reckoning,” we usually find out that the joy of having good friends also includes the heart-wrenching leeway of allowing them to think differently from us, even about the topics dearest to our hearts.
It is by perusing the sacred pages that I find we become able to “distill” those everlasting principles with the potential of carrying us through the day and through life, be it election season or not.
Last week, that apothegm became poignantly real once more as many of my acquaintances and friends from all over the world ravenously descended on social media to express either heartbroken dismay or undisguised elation about the results of the last US presidential election. While some of them gloomily made haste to post dire predictions about the end of the world as we know it, other earnest souls thanked our good Lord for what they considered an answer to prayer.
A third group rushed to hurriedly string together some loose prophetic connections—as feeble as they may look upon close inspection—in search of the comforting consolations of fancying this specific event to be a long-time heavenly devised prediction. Still others did wonder what the fuss was all about, and—with astonishing shortsightedness—why any other than voting true-bred American citizens should care about it. And that was even before the onset of the protests that seem to be sweeping dozens of cities across the nation!
Now, with the geographical and ideological advantage I enjoy as a spectator from my safe northern hideout—I neither live in the United States, nor plan to join its citizenry in the foreseeable future—and even at the risk of irking my “isolationist” acquaintances of the last group mentioned above, please allow me to add my two cents to the ongoing discussion.
I find that when reflecting on a current events topic—or any other topic, for that matter—as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I do not know a better way of tackling an issue than going to the wisdom of the Bible in search for answers. It is by perusing the sacred pages that I find we become able to “distill” those everlasting principles with the potential of carrying us through the day and through life, be it election season or not.
And so, to the “lamp unto my feet” (Ps. 119:105) I went in search of heavenly enlightenment.
If you grew up listening to Bible stories, chances are that even today, every time the prophet Daniel is mentioned, you envision him in the lions’ den. Daniel’s close call with “death by guzzling”—actually, by being guzzled—seems to epitomize all that we dream for ourselves, our children and loved ones ever to be. But while that story seems to embody the ultimate example of the prophet’s unwavering faithfulness to God, we often overlook the fact that Daniel got to that climactic experience after decades of loyal—if sometimes obscure—service to his God and the government of the day.
I do not know a better way of tackling an issue than going to the wisdom of the Bible in search for answers.
And an outstanding service it was! Daniel was so efficient as God’s true witness in a pagan court that “evil angels feared that his influence would weaken their control over [the government’s] rulers” (Prophets and Kings, p. 540). Talk about an effective tenure!
And there is more, because he managed to keep his job through thick and thin—through various administrations and several “elections” of a different kind. A king would die and be succeeded by another with a different team and game plan, but Daniel would eventually get a promotion. Then a brand-new administration would be installed, and somehow Daniel would be promoted to an even higher position!
Now, remember these were not peaceful and democratic transitions of power with a friendly—if insincere—handshake and a smile for the cameras. The taking over of a new ruler usually meant the previous one had either died by natural causes or succumbed to his injuries—by poisoning, hanging, or decapitation. Somehow, however, Daniel would always get a promotion! Governments would come and go, state satraps and secretaries would lose their posts (or their heads), but Daniel would stay, faithfully serving, ever close to the center of power.
How did he do it? The answer is stuff enough for an entire article of its own. So we’ll share Daniel's recipe in our next commentary.