If anyone had a reason to lose faith in God it was Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar invaded his country and stole him away from his family and friends. He was taken as a royal captive and forced to live in Babylon. He was given a new identity and made to serve the Kingdom that destroyed his way of life. He must have had dark nights of doubt, discouragement, and despair. But even in the midst of all his suffering, Daniel refused to give up faith in God.
Daniel could handle living in a foreign land. He would wear new clothes and learn a new culture. But he refused to eat the unclean food, or drink the intoxicating wine, offered from the King’s table. He decided early on that he would rather die than give up his religious principles: “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way” (Daniel 1:8). He convinced his guards to allow him and his friends to eat only vegetables and water for ten days, and God blessed the results: “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (Daniel 1:15).
How many of us have the honor, courage, and commitment to stand up for religious principles in the face of death? How many of us could maintain hope and confidence in God in the midst of Daniel’s circumstances? Is our faith strong enough to withstand the trials and tribulations that result from our belief in Jesus Christ?
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:9).
Each of us needs to resolve in our own hearts not to defile ourselves by compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even in the darkest of times, God is still directing our paths and we must always trust that God is in control.