A Den of Rabbits
by Bruce W. Durbin
Rabbits. Cute and cuddly animals that often become the pets of children.
Lions. Ferocious and terrifying animals. If a lion was walking down your street, growling and licking its chops, it's doubtful that you would invite the lion into your home.
A den of lions. The most cited event of Daniel's life was his being cast into a den of lions for his faithfulness to God. As Daniel 6:16-27 details:
"Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions.Then said Daniel unto the king.. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouth, that they have not hurt me."
It is an account where the ending (Daniel being saved) is readily apparent to the reader. There are no suspenseful pauses, no "to be continued" advertisements, and no waiting until the next chapter. Everyone that has either heard or read the account, knows that Daniel was saved. However, this element of salvation was not known by Daniel, at the time of his being tossed into the den of lions.
There is no annotation recording what the angel spoke unto Daniel, but it is unlikely that the angel assured Daniel (prior to his being cast into the den):
"Okay, listen, tomorrow, they're going to throw you into this den filled with these really hungry and vicious lions. But, don't worry, because, this is what's going to happen. I'll let them toss you into the den, they'll shove a stone over the mouth of the den. Then, when we're alone, I'll shut the lions' mouths. It'll be spectacular, when they open the den and find you not only alive, but without even a scratch."
No, when Daniel was tossed into the den of lions and saw the skeletal remains of prior occupants, he did not know that he would be saved. He only had the faith that God's perfect will would be done, whether this meant that the lions devoured or spared him; it was all in God's hands.
A den of lions. Today, it is unlikely that a person would be cast into a literal den of lions for their faithfulness to God. However, as Christians, we daily face varying forms of dens:
ØThe business den, where the Christian faces ethical decisions. ØThe classroom den, where the Christian student faces peer pressure. ØThe societal den, where the Christian faces changing social values.
When we are tossed into a den, there is the uncertainty of the outcome; will we overcome or be "devoured"? This uncertainty is the very substance of our faith, believing that the perfect will of God will be done.
When we overcome, the strength of the foe gives testimony to the greatness of God. Daniel's example of remaining faithful to God, even when facing hungry lions, would not have been so great an example, if the lions had been rabbits.
Bruce W. Durbin is a freelance writer, whose articles have featured on many Christian online publications. He is also the author of Almost Heaven (Dec. 2001) and Almost Hell (July 2002) (www.iuniverse.com and www.barnesandnoble.com).