I want to be like Daniel.
One of my favourite scenes in the entire Bible is when Daniel is called in to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:
Now, good ol’ Nebbie is the king of Babylon, who has completely crushed Daniel’s country, sacking their towns, carting their ‘best of the best’ off into captivity, dissing their temple, and God with it, and generally wreaking havoc.
Undoubtedly friends and family were injured or killed in this conquest, and Daniel, with the other best and brightest of Israel, has been dragged off from his homeland to serve in the King’s court.
So, Daniel might have some pretty legitimate grievances.
But in this story we see Nebbie having this really disturbing dream, and calling in our hero Daniel to provide an interpretation.
And Daniel is so horrified by what the dream predicts is going to happen to Nebbie, that we end up with the Nebbie comforting Daniel, saying (slight paraphrase) “Listen dude, don’t freak out. It’ll be okay. However awful this thing is, just tell me, and we’ll get through it.”
I love that.
I love the heart of Daniel. I love this relationship of trust and concern.
Let me be clear, in case you don’t happen to know my man Daniel: he was by no means a brown-noser! He risked his life on more than one occasion when the demands of his conquering employer went against his obligations to God.
But, except for the few occasions when true essentials were at stake, Daniel did his very best for Nebuchadnezzar.
But I’m not like Daniel.
Maybe someday. It’s a goal. But I definitely tend more toward opposition than diligent objective assessment. It’s ALL personal to me! And VITAL! EVERYTHING!
So it’s handy that praying for my leaders is not optional.
So, on this inauguration day, one I hoped never to see, I will certainly pray for, and FIGHT for, those most at risk, and for the things I value that this administration endangers. But I will also pray for President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the cabinet they will assemble to help guide them.
I’ll ask God to bless and guide our new President and Vice President. Giving them wisdom to lead, and bringing them wise advisors, as well as the humility to listen to the advice.
I am frightened of the harm that this administration can do to my country and this planet, but I’ll ask God to shape even this period for good instead of evil. And to use the trials that this administration will undoubtedly spark to awaken and energise the American people.
I’ll ask him to multiply and reward the good work that they will also do during their term(s) in office. Even if that takes more faith than I have right now. God has enough faith for both of us.
And, judging President Trump as I do, and having little knowledge of Vice President Pence, I’ll ask him to bring them to know and serve him if they do not, and conform their hearts and minds to his will.
And to conform my heart too, because I do not want to pray for, or support this administration in any way, and in some areas I should support them, even as I diligently oppose them on the essentials.
And I’ll keep praying. For as long as it needs to be prayed. And expecting it to build my faith and change my heart.
And remembering who is the ultimate source of power, I will trust.