Friday, November 1, 2019

Asking for Help

Daniel truly is a wealth of wisdom, even for this day and age. Maybe especially for this day and age. 

As we know, Daniel rose to quick fame in Babylon on account of his ability to interpret dreams. When Nebuchadnezzar had a couple of disturbing dreams that no one could interpret for him, it was Daniel who made clear what the Lord was trying to tell him. Weird things, strange things - like a statue made of different kinds of materials or a big tree that gets chopped down. Daniel's right on it, and because of this, he's promoted within the kingdom and given all kinds of honor. 

Many of us would like to be like Daniel, a person who can tell others the answers that speak to the depths of their hearts. A person who speaks with undeniable wisdom. A person who becomes known for knowing truth and gets license to speak it whenever and wherever, putting everyone else in their place. Yes, give us honor and riches. Give us fame and power. Give us the spirit of a Daniel. 

Oh, I'm so glad you agree. 

Because there's something special about Daniel that we could all benefit from, that we all need to have a little more of in our lives. And that is his humility. 

We see this nowhere more plainly than in Daniel 7, one of those passages we might read right by if we're not engaged with it. Here, Daniel himself has a dream. Which doesn't seem strange at the beginning. We all have dreams; it's part of who we are. But Daniel, the interpreter of dreams, doesn't figure out what his own dream means on his own. He goes and asks for help to interpret it. 

Read that again: Daniel, whose fame and honor has come as a result of his ability to interpret the king's dream, has a dream of his own and seeks help to interpret it. 

Now, maybe you could say this is a case of a prophet in his hometown - his gifts don't work as well on familiar soil - or that it's the old "healer, heal thyself" conundrum, but I don't think that's it. I think it's humility, plain and simple. Daniel wants to know that his heart is pure in interpreting his dream, so he seeks an outside opinion to make sure he's not biased. He wants someone else in on this conversation. 

Most of us work hard to be "competent" in our lives. We want to be seen as insightful and in control. We want to look like we've thought about it and figured it out and there's nothing that can stump us. Especially when it comes to things we ought to be "experts" on, be that our jobs or our families or ourselves. We don't leave a lot of room for "asking for help" because we see it as a sign of weakness, not humility; a failing, not an act of faith. 

But what if we didn't? What if we started asking for another set of eyes? What if we started honestly wondering what others see, what maybe we can't see ourselves? What if we could have the spirit of a Daniel? 

What if we humbled ourselves? 

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