An interesting thing happened to me. A friend called me up after a particularly stressful weekend.
"I prayed for you this weekend and I felt that God gave me something for you." My ears perked up. I'm always a bit skeptical whenever anyone tells me that. Not that I don't believe it happens—you just have to be careful with those kinds of things. With a few years experience on the matter, I've discovered that when God uses someone else to tell me something, it's almost always something He's already spoken to me about, and He's confirming it. Or it fits the situation perfectly (without the other person's knowledge), as was the case this time.
"I was having my quiet time, praying for you, and I was drawn to the passage about Daniel where he's set up by the men who plan to get him killed," my friend continued.
Okay, where is she going with this? My mind raced to try to understand how it could have fit my weekend circumstances. I drew a blank.
"Remember when the evil men got the king to sign the decree that, anyone caught praying to anyone other than the king himself, would be thrown to the lions? Well, here's what I believe God showed me about you. Daniel continued to pray to God and yet he was still thrown to the lions. The point is, even though Danie was obedient to God, God still didn't spare him from the lion's den. But, God did shut the mouths of the lions so they couldn't hurt him.
Wow. My friend had no idea what I had just been through that weekend, yet she nailed it perfectly. Feeling as if I was supposed to do this, I forced myself to visit some relatives who used to be very close to me until they turned their backs on the family over religious differences six years prior. They didn't want anything to do with me because I was a threat to their newfound beliefs. Aware of the open hostility I faced as I entered their home, it felt like walking into a lion's den, for real. Still, believing I was supposed to go, I expected God to do great things. He would deliver me from razor sharp teeth, right?
The whole thing was a bad experience and seemed like a totally bad idea. It certainly didn't seem like God shut the lion's mouths. But after I left, I looked back and saw how God protected me and gave me the words to speak. I obediently offered a message of unconditional love, in spite of the atmosphere.
After talking to my friend a couple days later, I began writing it all down in my prayer journal, detailing the way God spoke through her to encourage me, when God reminded me of something else—something that made me laugh out loud. As my hostile relatives led me outside into their backyard, away from their kids so they could "go in for the kill," the Lord reminded me of my potentially devouring relative's words on the way out the door.
"I'm not going to bite you."
Yeah, there's a reason for that. Thank you God for closing the mouths of the lions!