THOUGHTS ON PRAYER: [ ]
I have been intrigued by gaps in the stories of people’s lives for some time. Those pockets of time where the person seems to disappear without notice or giving a forwarding address. I have thought about the unknown and un-recorded lull in the timeline of Daniel, Jesus, and a few others. What were they doing, thinking, and feeling during these interludes until the author of their stories brought us back into their continuing narrative? The title of a recently heard sermon gave a name to these interludes: Blank Spaces.
Let’s take a peek into the life of the Old Testament Prophet, Daniel. He was taken captive as a teenager, and lived in captivity until his death around age 80. A few of the highlights on Daniel’s timeline were:
• Refusal to eat the delicacies the King offered him and his friends (Daniel 1:8).
• Refusal to bow and worship the golden statue of the King (Daniel 6).
• Facing sure death in the den of ravenous lions (Daniel 6).
• The Angel Gabriel informing him of the reason for the delayed answer to his prayer (Daniel 9).
• The revelation of their captivity coming to an end (Daniel 9).
Daniel’s character and faithfulness to God were certainly tested in these events. His life was often at stake. Yet, he, and his friends, chose to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rather than the gods of their captors.
A Bible study I did several years ago contained a timeline of Daniel’s life. There were blank spaces of a few years to several between the events which were recorded in the book bearing his name. Prior to this study, I thought his life was one adrenaline rush after another. My new-found knowledge led me to this question: Were the vacant spaces due to lack of newsworthy events? Perhaps. However, I would propose major actions were taking place within those blank spaces. During these intervals Daniel was being groomed for the significant events in his life. If one didn’t look closely within these time frames, one could miss Daniel’s daily training schedule: pray three times, faithfully serve the King, and oversee his daily governmental duties. The routine of these regular activities provided opportunity for Daniel to develop character, perseverance; and faith for the tasks and events ahead.
Daniel’s life is instructive to us today. It is in the Blank Spaces where life really occurs. It is in the consistency of the daily routines in our lives we learn love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Ephesians 5:22-23). Our interactions with family, friends, and co-workers give opportunity to speak the truth in love and be generous with the precious allotment of time we have on planet earth. God uses our daily routines to train and equip us for the major events on the timeline of our lives. These periods may seem meaningless but, in reality, they make us fit for Kingdom use.
May you receive each day as an exquisite gift (Lamentations 3:22-24). May you know the blessing of a job well done (Romans 5:1-5). May you experience the blessing of Father’s faithful love as you follow His ways in the day-to-day routine of your life (Deuteronomy 7:9).