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Let’s Look Closer: If you grew up attending church and were taken to Sunday School, you are probably familiar with this story. The kid-friendly version probably summarized something like, “Daniel and his friends obeyed God and lived happily ever after.” Then you were encouraged to be like Daniel and obey God too. Unfortunately, that version leaves out some critical details.

The beginning of the chapter tells us that these young men came to Babylon because their nation was defeated. They experienced a siege, so they, their families, and their neighbors had gone without adequate food and water for over a year. Their parents had probably been killed. Their homes had been destroyed. They had been forced to walk over 600 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon. They had seen the furniture from their house of worship carried away, symbolizing the supposed defeat of their God. They were assigned new names, confirming that all they had ever known was gone, and they now lived under the authority of ruthless people. They were powerless, enslaved people.

The amazing thing about these young men was their reaction. In verse 3, Daniel still saw God as the one in charge. Even amid defeat, Daniel believed God had everything under control. Because of that belief, Daniel and his friends could take the risk of trying to negotiate with their captors. God affirmed them in their step of faith, enabling their faith to grow.

Takeaway: We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we do choose our responses. When we act in faith, God can show up in remarkable ways. It doesn’t mean all our problems go away, but He can give our problems purpose.