Isolation is tough but stillness is necessary. When this stillness ends, its now time to move. Time to move into something greater. A time to be fruitful like Noah, walk into freedom like the Israelites crossing the Red Sea or receive an abundance of blessings like Elisha. Even when it looks like you're alone, you're never truly alone.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”
Marked for trial
The prophet Daniel had an excellent spirit upon him. He stood out in ways most of God's anointed tend to do. This spirit saw him favoured by his King and promoted within his kingdom.
“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
This reward was not well received by all though as certain powers of the day desired to rob Daniel of his kingdom citizenship. Persecution is almost never personal. Hate directed our way may not be because of the flesh but the spirit of God that rests upon us. Daniel's faith protected him from the fullness of his enenmies' wrath but the attacks were well on their way.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
How do we end up in isolation?
The earthly powers could only gain a strong hold on Daniel if they got him away from God. They could not isolate the man of faith spiritually so they laid a snare naturally. Warfare had begun so Daniel responded in the spirit by praying fervently. Daniel's prayer was met with persecution but also delivered his liberation later on.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil...”
- Matthew 6:13
Daniel was sentenced to death but he still had the King on his side. The humility and fasting of King Darius almost resembled that of a petition on behalf of Daniel. He knew that his law had to go forth, otherwise his powers of judgment were worthless, but his heart's desire was for Daniel to live. This in many ways mirrors the laws of God and us. Our actions engage judgements according to his word but his heart's desire is always for us to see life. Even in isolation, the heart and the favour of God is with us.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
What happens in isolation?
The desire of the earthly powers was for this time of isolation to destroy Daniel. To be torn apart by the king of beasts. What would be your natural reaction of being alone in a den of Lions? Fear...fear of death, suffering, the unknown, anything and everything in between. One of the goals of the enemy's attempt to isolate us, is to stir up feelings of fear. The fear that comes with being alone.
“…I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world...”
- Matthew 28:20
The enemy would have us to believe that being alone is something to greatly dread but major victories happen while isolated. David defeated Goliath, Joseph survived many trials and Christ took on the Scribes and Pharisees, all on their own. They all rose to the occasion and were fitly rewarded by the Most High. A beast in our path is to be expected. By his stripes we are healed and as his soldiers we must earn our stripes. Fear not, for it is part of the process to becoming royalty.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you”
1 Peter 4:12
God allowed Daniel into the Lion's den. A reminder that God will allow a thing, in order to produce an even greater thing. He shut the mouths of the lions and in so doing shut the mouths of the beasts that were after Daniel's blessing.
“But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”
Why would God allow us into the "belly of the beast"? If Jonah taught us anything, it might be the only place we are willing to hear God out. There is a calm before a storm and calm after it. Our neglect of the stillness before a thing could mean us picking up the pieces after it.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The time of isolation was meant to leave Daniel faithless, hopeless and bitter. The result?The innocency that he went into his isolation with was the same that he came out with. He was told to stop praying but never lost faith. He was thrown into the lion's den but never lost hope. He was sentenced by the King's ruling but held no unforgiveness towards him. Daniel in many ways seemed immovable. Hence the spirit that he had upon him.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
Isolation can be challenging but it can also bring the best out of us. It can be a time where our faith, hope and love for God is strengthened. What doesn't break you, reveals a strength within that you never knew you had. The strength of Christ. Live in grace, walk in peace and be blessed.