“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. How great are His signs, how powerful His wonders! His kingdom will last forever, His rule through all generations.” Daniel 4:3 New Living Translation
If you were to ask the question, “What matters most?” of 100 people, I wonder how many different answers you would receive. What matters most? Would I need to add qualifiers before some could offer an answer? If I were asked the question with no warning, I would offer an answer off the cuff because in my global way of seeing the world it wouldn’t cross my mind to consider there could be parameters to the question!
My considerations in looking at “What matters most” comes from questions posed to me in the last few days. They are questions most of humanity struggles with answering. I actually believe all humanity struggles with the answers, but I can’t categorically make that statement. The fact that I write this in itself reveals an amazing learning curve on my part, which has not been easy!
As a firstborn, I inherently believe I am right. This is an automatic response like breathing; it goes with being a firstborn. At the same time because of my challenges with self-image I also believe there is no way I am able to be right! Determining what matters most will depend on which side of my issues I happen to be residing at the moment.
I find myself challenged by the continual need for paradigm shifts in my thinking and conclusions. As one who has chosen to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, I have also chosen to enter into the process of grace that brings the paradigm shifts I so desperately need. Long ago and far away there was a king who discovered what mattered most through circumstances none of us would sign up to experience. At least I know I wouldn’t!
God has a different perspective on our circumstances than we tend to have. He views the challenges we face from an eternal perspective which we, of course, are unable to see! Because of this God has provided faith, the ingredient we must have in order to enter into a relationship with God. It is this that matters most, something King Nebuchadnezzar discovered for himself. The path God took him down was definitely not one anyone would seek out on their own. However, it reveals that God was more interested in saving a pagan king than letting him die without any effort at saving him.
Consider that God could as easily have left that Babylonian king alone to die in his egocentricity! Instead, God chose to seek Nebuchadnezzar out and lead him into an experience that would redeem him from the life that was destroying him! It was the life of the god complex, the same egomania that subconsciously convinces us we deserve to be the center of everything. It is the lie spun to Eve and sold to Adam that they could be like God and passed on to us through their DNA! Because like that ancient king we also suffer from the same egocentricity; the story of God’s intervention in that king’s life gives us hope He is doing the same for us!
What matters most is understanding God is intimately and passionately involved in our lives. He is doing exactly what is necessary to accomplish what we need, no matter what we think, or see, or feel! He does it because He loves us and wants us to be with Him for eternity!
When we consider what God was willing to do in the life of a pagan king to save him from himself, imagine what He is willing to do in order to save you and me! Is it possible God is willing to be misunderstood in His motives rather than lose even one of His children? Think about it, what would you want Him to skip doing if it meant losing for eternity someone you loved? Several scholars have pointed out we humans often step in where we are not wanted. In other words, because we are uncomfortable with the circumstances God is orchestrating in the lives of those we love, we interfere with His methods. Our god complex is revealed in the extreme when we do this!
Nebuchadnezzar took to himself the glory that belonged to God alone, as it was God who made Babylon the all-powerful nation it became! If you recall, it was represented in vision as the golden head of a statue that represented the most powerful nations to exist in the lands impacting God’s chosen people. Babylon was the golden kingdom which impacted Israel, and Nebuchadnezzar was the golden king. He represented the ultimate in complete success, the overall representation of a golden age as defined by God. And the king had no problem taking the responsibility for its success. In taking credit for that which is God’s, the king committed the most heinous of crimes, equating himself with God!
Yet God in His mercy chose to intervene in the life of this king who had only heard of God through the witness of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, four young men who determined to know and serve God no matter what their circumstances. It was through their witness God opened an avenue to the King of Babylon. These four young men, in less than optimal circumstances, remained true to their God despite the fact they were captives of a pagan nation. It was as a direct result of Daniel and his three companions that the ruler of Babylon met the Creator of the universe for himself and became one who acknowledged his allegiance to his Creator!
There is no way for us to know what, who, how, when, or why lives will be transformed by the circumstances you and I find ourselves experiencing, especially those which feel the most difficult, the ones that challenge us to the core of our being, those happenings that may cause us to ask why. I believe we need to ask ourselves what are we willing to go through for another to experience the salvation of God.
Bottom line, it always comes back to this. Do we believe what God is telling us? Because that determines how we will understand our circumstances and how we will decide what matters most, what we will choose to experience and for whom we will choose to experience it!