No Matter How You Feel….trust God Sky: Week 2

(This is part 2 of a five part series on Trusting God. Today's Scripture is Daniel 6:1-7; 10-12; 16-23)

Before we talk about feelings, let’s make sure we understand the playing field: Psychology Today noted that in an analysis of 500,000 adults, men rated just as high as women in emotional awareness. Men and women react differently; she shows her vulnerability and he must remain in control.

Men and women can both just as easily be ruled by emotion but then, we can also be ruled by reason and some are ruled by their physical bodies. We tend to give into everything…everything but our souls.

Moms bring a good balance to us. Think about your mom, grandmother or a caregiver who had an influence on you. What is one characteristic about her that has always helped you?

I know when I was in college, my emotions were getting the best of me. One night, talking to my mom, she reminded me to “think things through.” My mom doesn’t have a degree in psychology but library science but she understood my emotions needed some balance. We all need someone to keep us upright from time to time. Moms tend to be good at that.

As United Methodists gathered for two weeks at our General Conference, emotions got the better of many. But then it could be argued, so did reason! Every four years, leaders from around the globe gathered in Tampa to reflect, pray, work and provide leadership for our denomination for the next four years. It is hard work but it is good work. But many times, this year included emotions and reason tend to go to battling each other. I want to encourage you to visit UMC.org and learn more. 

We could really use a mom to bring some balance.  But then, we really already have one...

John Wesley had a practice that held to that today we Methodists call the quadrilateral.  It really isn't four equal parts though.  (There are a few other different models.  I prefer Dr. Melvin Dieter's Molecule) Our emotions, our experiences might get the better of us so Wesley put Scripture as the primary means of steadying our faith. Wesley also placed tradition and reason as the two other pieces of the quadrilateral.

Daniel and his friends who were in exile in Persia faced a number of temptations. There was the temptation to be impure starting at the beginning of Daniel in chapter 1. In this chapter, we find that Daniel knew his scripture. He understood the laws of Leviticus for Jews on what to eat. Later, chapters 2,4 and 5 tell the stories of the temptation to be insincere (Daniel 2, 4, 5), to be someone they weren’t. They knew Scripture and their tradition and so held firm and again, trusted in God. (1)
But there comes for us all and it did for Daniel, the Temptation to be Insecure, the temptation to rely on our feelings to determine our faith. For when feelings fluctuate, and they will, what will we have left?

With his very life on the line following the ruling of King Darius,
… when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

Okay, let’s be real honest here. For my life, I always really think about this story in terms of the Lion’s Den. But the crux of this, the decision of Daniel to trust in God happens way back here in verse 10. Most of us either we can acknowledge that reason would seem to dictate the day here but it doesn’t. The temptation to be insecure, to be ruled by experience or emotions has been ruled out based on the past experiences of Daniel and his friends in the first 5 chapters of the story.

Daniel had the lessons of Scripture in the Old Testament, a model for prayer. And he had his tradition of praying and giving things. One note mentions, “Daniel did not increase his prayer out of hypocrisy, nor did he try to conceal it out of fear,” (The Wesley Bible, 1990). You might say Daniel was a model Methodist in his time but also at a time when we need to see that trusting God is more needed than trusting systems, bureaucracy or governments.

Years later, Jesus’ disciples were troubled, they were facing their own "lion's den."  The Greek says, “they were stirred up and anxious.” Down here in the south, think about a hornets’ nest when you hear stirred up. Jesus’ words to them were, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. (John 14:1).”

Our “lions’ dens” are all different. They maybe at school facing a bully or social pressure. For college students, those pressures maybe a tough teacher or social pressure. Those of us as adults it maybe in a work environment that is toxic or a difficult marriage or…social pressure. What we choose to do BEFOREHAND prepares us for when everything hits the FAN.

When he observed Daniel’s practice of prayer, G. Campell Morgan wrote, “The occasional is always affected by the habitual.” What are you doing to beforehand? How will you behave when feelings begin to take over? Will you be defined by them or will your habits determine your faith?

Why do we ask the question about supporting the church with your “Prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness?” They aren’t for the church – they are for you.  These are the habits to help us face the occasions that arise?  Will you?  Will you begin the habits?



(1) Favorite Men Of The Bible, R. Blaine Detrick, CSS Publishing Co., Inc., 1987, 0-89536-850-2

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