My first car was a stick shift. If I was going to go anywhere, I had to learn how to manually shift gears. My mother was a natural at driving my car. She amazed me by moving the gears so smoothly that you barely noticed when she changed from first to second. When I was behind the wheel, everyone knew what position the stick was in. The car jerked so much when I changed gears that my friends frequently claimed, “Riding with Josh gives me a headache.”
Non-automatic vehicles aside, learning to shift gears is an essential life skill for all of us. Today especially, we give thanks for those who help us move forward, who teach us how to do so, and who willingly tolerate the bumps and grinding gears we cause along the way.
In today’s section of Daniel’s story, King Darius shifts gears dramatically, and the plot takes a bumpy turn. The king has spent a sleepless night worrying about how Daniel was faring in the lion’s den. When he discovers that the young man is alive and well, the king was exceedingly glad (v. 23). He realizes, of course, that the edict his advisors manipulated him into signing, was wrong. Clearly, he needs Daniel’s truth and the relationship with God that Daniel embraces.
May we too gratefully embrace those moments when the way forward becomes clear to us. May we seek God’s help as we learn to shift gears in our thoughts and actions.
Think about recent decisions you’ve made. Consider why you made those choices and ask yourself what good or bad influences affected them. How do you know when it’s time to start thinking and acting more effectively?
God, grant me the courage to change when you direct me to do so. Help me lean into a deeper relationship with you today and find exceeding gladness in it. Amen.