Remember the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. This “King of Beasts” acted more like a timid mouse except when real courage was needed, not bravado. Time and again he acts in the face of fear even though afraid. He thought his fear made him inadequate. Do you?
Fear is a warning bell of danger and a clarion call to hope, humility, and wisdom according to Larry Osborne in his book “Thriving in Babylon”. Twice in one week I heard or read the narrative from the book of Daniel about a man of the same name and this three royal friends taken from Israel after King Nebuchadnezzar conquered it. They were taken to Babylon, the capital of a godless society hostile to their faith in Yahweh. They were forced to study Babylonian language and literature for three years which some believe included lessons in the occult.
Doubtless they did not enjoy this anymore than many today enjoy diversity training or some form of new age team building exercises. They did not respond with fear, hand wringing, disrespect or projecting an air of superiority. Their lives projected hope, humility, and wisdom instead.
Biblical hope is an expectation that God and His ways ultimately triumph. That inspires confidence and courage to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds. Daniel and his friends fought with humility and respect. Opponents respond much better to this than caustic scathing criticism. Humility builds bridges of respect instead of indifference to what we have to say. Daniel did not try to undermine his boss. Instead Daniel’s worth ethic and competency made his boss look so good he was frequently promoted.
Daniel and his friends knew which battles to fight and which ones to walk away from. They did not easily take offense because they did not expect nonbelievers to act like people of faith. Such wisdom preserves the ability to influence others and their actions over time. Hope, humility, and wisdom are crucial to fulfilling our great assignment as part of the Great Commission.
Headline news can and should get the attention of followers of The Way. Their response influences not just the quality of their life, but the lives of others as well. Healthy fear following the example of Daniel will not trash those we disrespect. No matter how bad things seem, and a reading of Romans 1:21-32 suggest things may get a lot worse, God is in charge. God is always in control of who is in control.
So, no matter how much you feel afraid, trust God. Refuse to sin and through His empowering Presence do the next right thing. The Cowardly Lion may have had much in common with Daniel. We should too.