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Making God Bigger

Can I get an I love Pastor Andy Amen? His recent sermon blessed me even as I struggled with some chronic pains. His anecdote about watching Hallmark movies with his wife was hilarious, and yet also a bit scary if I had to be honest. Sure, that’s a family tradition but is godliness equal to watching Hallmark movies joyfully with my wife? I’m not there yet, Pastor, but I love you. I’ll pray about it!

Similar to this fearful prophetic vision is the place I find myself in my devotions through Daniel. At the conclusion of Daniel’s great vision of the future wars and the broken horn, the chapter’s final verse stood out:

And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. (Daniel 8:27 -ESV)

Why this verse? Consider this as the reaction beat for Daniel’s character and all that he’s witnessed and gone through. Exile, slavery, victory, fear, war, victory, etc. All of this, with a God-centric focus. He’s been faithful, praising God who is greater than the idol worshippers of Babylon, yet here he is, stricken with sickness for days.

I’m excited to have a long-awaited doctor appointment upcoming, and then hopefully not too long before some relief to my pain. As I endure that to start my day in this story, I empathize with Daniel and his being overcome with sickness.

I don’t stop there, though, as he doesn’t. The next line says he “rose and went about the king’s business,” reflecting on God’s vision as he went. Daniel found strength in his faith, even when it was difficult, both physically and when “appalled” and when he couldn’t understand. He locked on to the one who rescues above all and he served.

Pastor Josh’s recent sermon about good boasting finds a tremendous example in Daniel here. Similar to how those who fast aren’t to make their suffering obvious to others, lest they earn their reward, so too is there righteous honor in suffering for doing good. Righteous boasting shows others it is God who enables you to endure well. It may not always be word for word, but you know what they say about actions, and faith without works.

Yes, he took days off from work, as there is mercy, but when he was able he rose and served.

After all, he’d just been strengthened in his faith by this prophecy about God:

And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 8:14, emphasis added)

As Pastor Andy said in his sermon, “Whatever you’re going through, making God bigger and on display is the right course…. The bigger He is the more we will praise Him.” (At least as best as I could quote ;), but thank you, Pastor. I know this is true.)

No lie, I wrote that last line and knocked my wireless mouse off my treadmill desk. The fall to concrete may have killed it. Thankfully, God is my focus and it’s not even a thing. Or at least I’m praying through it not being a thing. ;)

Daniel felt that sickness, but greater than that was the one he loved and served above even the great earthly king of Babylon. He saw nation and kings fall in the war and suffering to come, yet in the end an “everlasting kingdom” and Him with “everlasting dominion” over it.

God has given us even greater visions than Daniel for we have the whole Bible in our language. Did anyone else just read the end of Ezekiel and the name that they would give the Great City? *whistles in wonder* If you know, you know. Like Moses, if God isn’t there, I don’t want to be there either. If you don’t remember the city’s name, head over to Ezekiel – no joke, I fixed my mouse! He lives!

Oh yeah, that Ezekiel reference is 48:35. You’ll have to rise up and get that one. What, you didn’t expect homework in honor of our counseling ministry?

All my love and prayerful blessing on your day as you go and serve the King of Kings. The bigger He is, the more we’ll praise Him.

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