The book of Daniel contains many of the prophecies given to Daniel regarding future times, including what is called “the last days”. Daniel received many visions from God, and those truths affected him greatly. Daniel actually suffered because God gave him insights into the things that would come to pass. Daniel suffered because God revealed truth to him.
Understanding the truth of God is certainly meant to be liberating. Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. (John 8:32) Many of us have experienced the freedom which comes from knowing and embracing the truth of God.
However, not many of us consider that knowing the truth can also cost you. It can sometimes intrude upon your comfort and your sense of well-being. Knowing the truth of God can sometimes bring you great pain, great consternation, great concern, and physical discomfort.
Here are a few examples…
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
You may have a friend or loved one who is proud, arrogant, and haughty. You know that eventually, they are going to fall, and that there will be some kind of destruction, some kind of suffering. You love them, and care about them, and though you know that they need to discover humility, you hate to think of what it will take to get them to the place of humility. Your confidence in the truth of God’s word makes you sick over your friend’s impending fall.
Galatians 6:7, 8 7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
This verse brings the Christian great concern and heartache over the spiritual condition of loved ones who constantly “sow to the flesh”. We know that corruption of some sort is guaranteed to come into their life. It may be the corruption of a sinful life, with all the fallout that happens when people reject God. It may ultimate in eternal separation from God. Because you love this person, it makes you sick to think of what their future looks like if they continue to only “sow to the flesh”.
Daniel believed what God revealed to him, and it affected him, because of the sadness and destruction of what God showed him would take place.
As a Christian, I know that God is good, merciful, loving, etc., but I also know that he is holy, and will judge the nations. Knowing the truth of God made Daniel sick. Jesus was known as “a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief”. (Isaiah 53:3) The Apostle Paul wept over those whom he described as “enemies of the cross”. (Philippians 3:18)
Those statements are not shared as an excuse for a Christian to have a sour life. There is much about which we ought to be joyful.
But my point is this: Somehow, some of us have decided that the Christian life should always be about being up, happy, joyful, about never feeling down, never being serious, etc. That is a narrow and incomplete understanding of the Christian life. I agree that there is much to be joyful about, but there is also much over which we may, at times, grieve.
So, if you find yourself sorrowful over sin, yours or someone else’s, that is appropriate and right. If God has revealed a great truth to you, it may cost you some joy to carry that truth in your heart. You may discover that you are feeling “Daniel-ish” at times…even physically sick over the sadness of certain situations in the world.
And if you work or live with a Daniel, give him/her some extra grace. They are carrying a burden that you may not understand.