Standing Strong in Times of Turmoil

by Daniel Lim on September 6, 2012


Standing Strong in Times of Turmoil

By Daniel Lim

In this time of great global change, many people look at happenings around the world and conclude that the changes are only temporary. However, a permanent shift is taking place in our lives. We must know God, hear His voice, and be prepared to adapt to change, trusting God’s guidance at every turn. We find inspiration from many biblical characters.

One day, Abraham received a call from God to leave his country and go to a land that God would show him. He obeyed the Lord, left the life he knew in Ur of Chaldea, and set out on a pilgrimage with no map and no itinerary. This was no temporary season, it was the beginning of a permanent shift in the way Abraham would walk out his life before God. There was no going back, so he had to adjust to the new life that had been handed to him.

In fact, from the time of Abraham to the Babylonian captivity, the children of Israel repeatedly found themselves in situations which required them to adapt to their new environment in order to succeed. What had worked previously was no longer relevant; it was time to trust God again.

In the book of Daniel, we find Daniel in difficult new conditions, when the Jewish people had been forced out of their homeland into Babylonian captivity. Born into nobility, Daniel would have expected to live in a position of authority, wealth, and influence. But circumstances changed abruptly. Daniel was taken as a slave to a foreign land, under a foreign king who had killed his parents, burned the holy temple, and destroyed his homeland. Eventually promoted to prime minister, Daniel knew that his success before God in this new life of great responsibility depended upon his resolve to serve and obey God, regardless of the cost.

Even in unfavorable circumstances, Daniel was determined to be God’s vessel and to listen for and obey the voice of the Lord. We would do well to learn from Daniel, who was willing to surrender his life of privileged nobility and look for God’s purposes in His new situation. We too can be ready to give ourselves to the new assignments that change often creates.

Many people who are over-invested and over-committed in relationships or financial commitments are unable to successfully navigate seasons of great change. God longs for us to make time for intimate relationship with Him, to keep our hearts tender and open before Him. This way, we can receive His grace to stand firm and see changing times as an opportunity to love and serve Him in new ways. But if we remain stuck in the glory or baggage of the past, or too busy to disengage from the commitments of the day to seek God, we are less likely to be able to lay hold
of a new season in God.

How can we learn from Daniel and be ready to respond with faith and trust when the circumstances of our lives change? It is very important that we set aside regular times to pray and to grow in the knowledge and love of God, bringing the details of our lives before Him—our time, relationships, finances, and priorities. As we keep these before the Lord, in loving fellowship with Him, and allow Him to prune the non-essentials from our lives, our hearts yield and respond in greater measure to the opportunities that God opens up to us.

In every season we are to ask the Lord what He requires of us and then wait upon Him. It is not the time to get distracted or to follow the crowd. We must be still, and know that He is God, and that He is exalted over the nations (see Ps. 46:10). He is enthroned on
high. He is ruling and reigning. He is in control. Though the Evil One is still at work in this age, God has the master plan, and we know the end of the story: Jesus will reign as the victorious King of the whole earth.

Over the years, I have observed that those who hear the voice of God and wait on Him in times of great change are the ones who stand strong. They may appear foolish by the world’s standards, but, when the time comes and things suddenly shift, they are able to lay hold of all God has for them, while others flounder and struggle to make changes. We must resist the temptation to live according to the world’s definition of success, and choose to live by the Word of God.

As in the days of Daniel, an intense time of turmoil, struggle, politicalwarfare, and demonic activity, God’s message to us today is: “The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out exploits” (Dan. 11:32).