Daniel 12:1-3 (NRSV)
Chapter 12"At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Verse 2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Verse 3Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Yikes! Times of pain, tragedy and loss—this reading from Daniel frightens me. Heartache, trauma, and grief hold out the prospect of things I would rather not experience. I really just want to avoid pain at all costs.
But, the prophet promises, unexpectedly and mysteriously, God will show up in the midst of suffering. God will be with the people in their struggles. Maybe instead of being scared, it’s actually comforting to know that when we experience times of anguish—as is common to all—God promises deliverance, salvation, and eternal life. God’s prophet assures the people that God will continue to guide God’s people into the promised land as God has always done. God will lead them to safe places, away from anguish, oppression, destruction, and shame toward places of hope, faith, love, and abundant life.
God, lead me from anguish to contentment, from pain to health, and from death to life. Help me to trust in you in times of suffering. Amen.