Faithfulness in Babylon
Open Your Bible
Daniel 1:8-21, 1 Samuel 12:24, 1 Peter 2:11-17
BY Alena Pitts
Do you ever wonder what it means to be favored by God? Or do you ever think about what it looks like to have God’s hand on your life? I thought I knew, but the longer I live the more I realize my understanding of God’s favor is expanding.
At the age of ten, God granted me the opportunity to star in a Christian film called War Room. The movie was a box-office hit and has been viewed by millions of people all over the world. Two years later, God gave me the chance to write a three-book fictional series with my mom titled Lena in the Spotlight. Those books have sold thousands of copies all over the world as well.
These were two life-changing events that gave me the privilege of traveling all over the world to tell my story and share the hope of God. Now, at sixteen, I can easily look back and call that God’s favor.
But I need to be truly transparent and honest with you. When I was asked to write on this passage in the book of Daniel, I immediately felt unequipped and unworthy because there is more to my story.
Two years ago my beautiful mother unexpectedly passed away. She was my best friend. She was with me on the movie set, in my writing, and as I traveled sharing my story. Just two days before she died, we were speaking at a mother/daughter conference together. But then she left this earth really suddenly and entered into eternity. I was devastated. It was the most painful day of my life by far, and I still carry it with me.
But would you call me crazy if I called this God’s favor on my life? I wouldn’t have said that two years ago, but now I’m beginning to understand favor a bit differently, maybe more deeply.
Think about it. Do you think Daniel wanted to leave his home country of Israel? Do you think he would have wanted to live in a land that wasn’t his, working for a king that wasn’t his, being asked to serve a god that wasn’t his? I imagine he was pretty saddened by how his life had changed so quickly. But with the blessing of time and perspective, we can see in our readings today how God’s favor was still with Daniel in all of that.
As devastating and heart-wrenching as reality can be, it can often be God’s favor. God’s favor could be anything He has done or allowed in your life in order to fulfill His ultimate purposes. And what is God’s purpose? That people would find Him in the midst of their lives, in their pain and struggle, and come to know that they are deeply loved by Him.
What if, like Daniel, God wants to use your story to help others find Jesus? What if His favor can be found in the things that feel like blessings, as well as the things that are really hard? What if He wanted to use all of your life to show up in your story and lead others home to Him? Would you choose today to view all of it as His favor, working to fulfill His good purposes?