Daniel’s Chapter 11 Moment
In my book, Facing Chapter 11: When Your Accountant Says Yes, But God Says No, the term “Chapter 11 moment” is used to describe any season of extreme hardship—not just a financial one.
Trials and challenges are thrust upon us suddenly without notice. They are isolating, separating us from our sense of normalcy and security. The worst part, perhaps, is that we go into these seasons without any timeframe. These seasons could last for days and weeks, while others might linger for years.
Regardless of how short or long, not a moment of these Chapter 11 moments should be wasted. The question we need to always ask is: What is God doing with these adverse seasons to strengthen and better us and those around us—and, by extension, what are we doing to actively reflect His grace?
Perhaps my favorite illustration is Daniel. When advisors appeal to King Darius’s arrogance to get him to sign a law that requires everyone to worship only him on penalty of being thrown into the lions’ den, Daniel doesn’t flinch. On hearing the news, he doesn’t waste a single second arguing his case or whining that the other advisers are “haters” who want to bring him down and take his job.
Nope. Daniel hears the news and does what he always does: He heads home, goes upstairs, opens the windows and kneels before God in prayer.
King Darius, although upset with himself for what he’s done to his favorite adviser, cannot, by law, undo his own declaration and so he has no choice but to cast Daniel into the lions’ den. Talk about a Chapter 11 moment!
But again, Daniel puts his faith in God. He doesn’t resist. He doesn’t play the victim card. When he’s about to be thrown in with the lions, he doesn’t pitch a fit, scream at the king for being so weak and stupid or promise revenge. Instead, he recognizes that this is the path that God has allowed him to walk—and he faithfully, silently accepts it.
I absolutely love this guy! There’s so much we can take away from this story, told in Daniel Chapter 6, but here’s just a little salt and light I feel led to share:
1) Grace is a powerful God-given tool that we can access at will, and I wonder how much more amazing our lives would be if we mobilized this grace in all of our own Chapter 11 moments. Daniel exhibited grace in action. He didn’t resist in the face of what appeared to be an unjust and torturous fate.
2) We also see Daniel exhibit grace towards others. When King Darius runs down the next morning and yells to Daniel, “Has your God delivered you?” Daniel replies, “O king, live forever!” Now, had it been me spending the night inside that dark, bone-laden pit with all those big cats growling and prowling about and I knew that the person with the key was standing right outside? Well, I’m pretty sure my first words would have been something along the lines of: “Thank God, you’re here. Now get me out of here!” And then once outside, I probably would have informed King Darius that I would be tendering my resignation, effective immediately! But not Daniel. He answers the very person who condemned him with a merciful, forgiving, enthusiastic statement: “O king, live forever!” Daniel held no grudges, no bitterness—he showed complete respect and grace to the king.
3) As a result of Daniel’s trial and example, King Darius finally saw the truth. He converted and made a new decree that everyone should worship Daniel’s God:
The takeaway is this: When the going gets rough and dark, follow Daniel’s example and don’t resist. Instead, lean into God and embrace your circumstances. Use every minute of your Chapter 11 moment as an opportunity to draw closer to God, to let Him use your trial to further His purposes (even though you don’t understand) and to share with others how God is rescuing and delivering you. I think we’ll all eventually find that, like Daniel, that will be time very well spent.