Nothing saps hope like an impossible situation. Anyone who has been in such a scenario knows that helplessness is often the herald of hopelessness. Given his impossible circumstances, we might expect to find Daniel drained of all hope and faith, but surprisingly, we discover the opposite to be true.
Daniel’s impossible situation is two-fold. First, King Nebuchadnezzar is demanding what his advisors say no one on earth can do: to not only interpret the king’s dream, but to divine the content of that dream out of thin air. When they inevitably fail this impossible task, the king gives orders to execute them, their families, and all his other advisors, Daniel included. This is the first problem, and it’s a big one.
The second problem has less to do with the impossible task and more to do with the impossible man, King Nebuchadnezzar himself. As the saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and this is on full display as the king of Babylon shows his penchant for arbitrary violence. The impossible task aside, if he survives this conflict, Daniel has to find a way to live in a nation that is ruled by the whims of this impossible man.
Yet, in the midst of it all, Daniel maintains his hope and trust in the Lord. You see, Daniel knew that despite all the raging of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord’s good purposes for him would prevail. Nebuchadnezzar may be king of the world, but Daniel knew that the King of heaven is the one who “changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:21). What fueled Daniel’s hope and faith was the truth that no power on earth could stand against the plans of the God of the heavens.
There is no greater example of this truth played out in the annals of history than in the story of Jesus’s resurrection. No situation is more hopeless than the grave, but even death could not stop the redemptive purposes of God. Christ’s resurrection exposes the futility of any effort to thwart the progress of God’s kingdom. Neither the mightiest of kings nor the cruelest of deaths can impede God’s good purposes for His people. This truth sustains our hope and faith in the face of seemingly impossible situations.
At the end of their rope, Nebuchadnezzar’s advisors lost all hope, while “Daniel praised the God of the heavens (v.19).” The prophet knew that nothing could derail what God had in store for his life, and the same is true for us today. No matter how bleak our situation, there is nothing that can spoil God’s plans for us. Let that truth be the fuel that animates our hope and trust, come what may.
Written by Collin Ross