Yesterday I shared a few juvenile puns about the Bible. I know they were juvenile because I've been telling them since Moses was in grade school. One of them involved Daniel and it reminded me of another thought rummaging around in my head. As a Southern Baptist, I don't get to talk about the apocryphal books often, but as I suspect more than just Baptists could be reading I'll share one of my favorites. In addition to the big books left out, there are several verses in Esther and a chapter from Daniel. In the last chapter of Daniel he defeats two gods (real little 'g') one of which was a dragon. This again causes the satraps and governors to fear him and convince the king to throw Daniel back into the lion's den. It was a different king, so maybe he didn't read about the first time. It has the same result, Daniel comes out unscathed, but he must have been in there for a while, because he got hungry.
Now I don't know about you, but being surrounded by hungry lions I'd be a little too busy praying to keep from worrying about eating myself, and if I did eat I certainly wouldn't want anything a lion might like. So to feed Daniel, an angel picks up Habbukuk by the hair and drops him in the den. Daniel eats and presumably the angel takes Habbukuk home again.
No one has satisfactorily told me that this is not the Habbukuk who has a book in the Bible. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, it wouldn't matter if he was a man of God before or he became one after because either way, you don't go through that and come out an agnostic. But think of things from Habbukuk's point of view. He's out tending the fields or watching the flocks and he sits down for lunch. He's just about to take it out of his bag (or whatever they used to carry their lunches back then) when all of a sudden he's picked up by his hair.
Scary enough matter. He's flying. No one flew back then, no ground beneath his feet, no effort on his part at all, just him, his lunch, and a lot of air between him and the ground. So the sheer terror of it has to die down a bit. After awhile he gets used to it and starts enjoying the view. The hills, the trees, the fields, there's the neighbor's house, there's the sheep he lost last week stuck on a hill, oh hey, here's a town coming up. Well this is neat, seeing the buildings, flying over the wall, what's that big grassy area over there? Are we getting closer to the ground? Don't put me down there! The ride of a lifetime is about to end by landing him in not only a den of lions, but the ONLY unsafe place it could end. His hair is released, he falls a few feet to the ground, rolls over in a cloud of dust, looks up and sees a lion staring at him. He slowly sits up and slides backwards along the ground. He's starting to feel marginally safer when he touches a foot. This can't be good, there can't be a live person in here, it has to be leftovers. Maybe he can throw it at the lion and escape. Only when he tries to pick it up, it won't come up. He turns around to see Daniel standing over him asking, "What's in the bag?"
Oftentimes we find ourselves comfortable and doing the thing we feel we should be, when all of a sudden something big happens. We're uprooted from our place of comfort and taken for a ride. Up and down, over and out, to places we're scared of, to places we admire, and just as we get used to all of that in sheer terror we realize that the place our trek is taking us is the one spot more dangerous than where we are. Through no fault of our own, we're thrust into a place others go for punishment. For punishment they aren't supposed to come back from. We're dealt the same cards, treated the same way, persecuted and tested. We did what we were supposed to and still feel like the world is against us.
But God pulls us through. He takes care of us and puts us back in the field, maybe without our lunch, but back where we were. Maybe we made a friend, maybe we have a testimony to share with someone else. The Providence of God has taken care of us again, even though we thought He left us be.
And maybe next time we'll think twice when He tells us to fast.