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When Your Hands Are Tied

Posted: 9/6/19 at 3:00pm. Column by Ed Jordan.

There are always events in our lives which are beyond our control. As I write this, we are awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian. There has been a week of anxiety for many people up and down the east coast of the United States.

I live on an island, just off the mainland of Virginia. The church property is about 7.5 feet above sea level. Projections of the tidal swell are around 7 feet above sea level. It is a situation in which if the storm continues to move further east into the ocean, we might not get the high tides, and we’ll mainly have rain and wind. But you never know.

So as I write this column I am mindful that it needs to be submitted before the power goes out! My congregation mainly lives on the island, as my wife and I do. We make the preparations we can, but beyond that, our hands are tied. There is only so much you can do, but sometimes powers and events are beyond our control.

At such times, we must remember that our hands might be tied, but God’s hands are never tied. We need to turn the outcome over to God and trust God for the results.

This morning in my Bible reading, I read in Daniel 6 where Daniel, a Jew living in Babylon which was conquered by the Persians, had prospered and made the underlings of the ruler of Babylon jealous. They were continually plotting, trying to get Daniel to break the law so they could get rid of him.

We need to turn the outcome over to God and trust God for the results.

They manipulated the king to codify a ruling they had written, that anyone who prays to any god or man other than the king himself would be thrown into the lion’s den, meaning death by lions (cf. Daniel 6:6). The ruler agreed; then the group returned and reminded the ruler that the law was unchanging and that Daniel had prayed to his God three times a day, in violation of the decree (cf. 6:13). He had to be be fed to the lions.

The king was in great distress, for he had found Daniel to be a great asset, and a person of amazing character. But the ruler’s hands were tied. The Persian law, once decreed, was the law; and Daniel had broken it. The king became very agitated. He spent the day until sundown trying to find a way to save Daniel, but to no avail.

They took Daniel to the lion’s den (probably a narrow-entranced pit) where they kept lions captive and hungry. The pesky group plotting against Daniel returned to the king and said: Time’s up. Send him to the lions.  In Daniel 6:16 (NASB) we read: “Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you constantly serve will himself deliver you.’”

Here is an amazing thing: The Persian ruler was confident that though his own hands were tied so that he could not save Daniel from being thrown into the lions’ den overnight to be mauled, killed, and eaten, that the God whom Daniel worshipped could—and would—deliver Daniel.  

Why is this amazing? Very few Christians would have had such great faith as this pagan king. Yet this king was confident. He didn’t tell Daniel that God might deliver you; he affirmed that “Your God will himself deliver you.”  

You see, your deliverance and mine does not depend upon our works or on what we think God might owe us. God can do whatever God decides to do.

This ruler had gotten peace and confidence from God, that even though his king’s hands were tied so he couldn’t save Daniel, God’s hands were not tied, and God himself would deliver Daniel. At dawn, the den was opened and Daniel came out, untouched by the lions (cf. Dan. 6:23). The king was thrilled, and he delighted in seeing God’s saving power.

Ironically, the power brokers who had set the trap for Daniel became victims of the same lions they tried to feed Daniel to. It was God who controlled the nature and behavior of the lions, even to the extent of when they would attack and devour their prey.   

What are you stressed over today that is beyond your control to fix?

What issues do feel are about to attack or devour you? What options do you have when your hands are tied?

Only one option is really available to any of us: We must trust God, and entrust our unsolvable issues to God, whose hands are not tied up—even when ours are.

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.