Mark preached from Daniel 6 last night, looking at the theme ‘Why worry? God’s in charge!’ The story of Daniel in the lions’ den, much loved by children in Sunday School, is far more than the story of what happened to Daniel. It teaches us about good and evil and shows us vividly that God is in control of our lives.

Daniel was a man of God in whom there was an excellent spirit. His integrity and godly living had taken him to a high position in a foreign land. But there were others who were jealous of his success and who wanted not only to cut him down to size but to get rid of him permanently. Fuelling those plots was the devil himself, who wanted to get rid of any godly influences in that country.

It was no accident that Daniel ended up in the lions’ den, and God was not looking away when this happened, taken by surprise. Sometimes, our lives change in a matter of minutes and circumstances send us crashing, but God knows it all and can turn the devil’s schemes into good.

Daniel did not know what the outcome would be as he stared into the mouths of ravenous lions, but He trusted God to be with him. Daniel was saved by God and his enemies were destroyed. The results were more than his personal salvation, however, for King Darius came to know that God was great through this miracle and issued a decree acknowledging Daniel’s God. Good had triumphed.

Daniel shows us how to face great stresses and trials with courage and hope. Peter urges us to ‘humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ (1 Pet 5:6-7) So often, we go through life with a rucksack full of worries on our backs that weigh us down like a ton of bricks. Jesus tells us not to worry (Matt 6:25-34), promising us that God will meet our everyday needs, no matter what they are. God’s Spirit lives within us, as He did within Daniel, and we are assured that God is working all things together for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). God opens and closes doors in our lives and we need to leave our worries with God so we can walk through the doors He opens, unencumbered by worry, guarded instead by God’s perfect peace which transcends all understanding.