Do you ever read the Bible and feel disconnected from it? There are so many wild stories within those pages, and they happened so long ago that it can be hard to believe they’re true. Oceans splitting apart, fire coming down from heaven, people wrestling with angels or walking on water; it sounds like something out of a fantasy book. It can be hard to reconcile the stories of how God moved in ancient times with how He’s moving now because sometimes it feels like He isn’t moving at all.
I know that I’m not the only one who has opened the pages of the Bible and found extraordinary passages depicting God’s power and might and the trust and faith of those who followed Him. I read those stories and wish that that was me. That I had the kind of relationship with the Lord that meant I could be thrown in a lion’s den and trust that God would take care of me. That kind of steadfast faith is rare because it takes effort to cultivate. These heroes of the faith weren’t just living their lives how they wanted with disregard for the Lord (yes, at some points they did, but that wasn’t their whole story). They were seeking Him, praising Him, and talking with Him daily.
“Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.”Daniel 6:9-11
When Daniel heard about the decree from King Darius saying that everyone was to solely worship the king for thirty days, he knew what he had to do. He didn’t hide away and didn’t go along to get along: he did what he had always done: commune with God. It would’ve been easy for him to close the windows and pray secretly so that no one would find out he had disobeyed the law. It would’ve been easier to blend into the world around him. But God didn’t call Daniel to an easy life, and He doesn’t call us to one either.
Our faith doesn’t grow without effort. We can’t expect to hear from God if we’re drowning out every second of our day with the voices of society. We won’t know what path to take if we’ve been doing whatever the popular culture tells us to do. We must remove ourselves from the noise of the world around us and get away with God. Daniel prayed to the Lord three times a day, every day. He intentionally cultivated his relationship with God because he knew he’d be lost without it.
Are we putting that kind of effort into our relationship with the Lord? Or are we more focused on building our brand, gaining followers, or being on trend with the rest of society? We show where our priorities lay by how much effort we put into something. Let’s ensure our relationship with God is at the top of that list. It’s not always going to be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. You don’t have to start with three-hour prayer sessions or read the Bible in six months. It’s okay to start small and work your way up. Maybe today, you begin by reading one chapter in the Bible instead of scrolling on social media. Or perhaps you set a five-minute timer so you can pray without worrying about how long it’s been. When we do little things daily, they grow into habits, and habits grow into rhythms, and rhythms remind us where our refuge is found. So start small friend, and see where the Lord will lead you.