Of all the prophets none had a greater sense of wonder than Daniel. The sense of wonder is our sixth sense and emerges from the exercising of our other five more common senses. Wonder is powerful. It leads to the the deepest and most profound questions and motivates the human desire for knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Wonder is a higher form of curiosity. When coupled with a spiritual connection to God, as was the case with Daniel, it leads to vision.
I have spoken often in my essays about seeing(The Forest for the Trees and Vision). Daniel is famous for his dreams and visions. However, they came with a cost. In a world today where we are so easily distracted by so many things we can hardly imagine silence or sitting quietly for even a few brief moments. To go without a meal for even a few hours is unthinkable for most of us. Of course there were as many distractions in Daniel’s day, they were simply different. After all, Daniel had many men under his command and held a high office in the Kings court. He was heavily burdened with the cares of the kingdom of Darius and later Cyrus. He was a prince of princes. Yet he found the time to be quiet.
This was no ordinary quiet that Daniel sought. Trained from a child to be a prophet, he learned how to humble himself by fasting often and exercising prayer and meditation. On one occasion, while camped with his men by the Tigris river, he “mourned” for 24 day, which means he remained silent, ate very little food, no flesh and no wine. The most important aspect of this period of mourning was a great quiet and isolation that surrounded Daniel though he was with scores of his men. Daniel was seeking to UNDERSTAND God. So, as he had been taught as a child he disciplined first his body, which is the temple of God via his spirit’s connection to God’s spirit. In affect he was intent upon communicating with God. His discipline, the quieting of body and spirit was rewarded twenty four days later. Most of us can’t wait for an answer to anything for more than twenty-four hours. Daniel waited in silence and in self discipline for TWENTY-FOUR days.
And what was the result of this lonely and silent waiting. I will let the scripture speak for itself: 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”Daniel 10:10-14
The emphasis on verse 12 is mine and should make it clear that if we humble ourselves, and clear our lives of distractions and seek UNDERSTANDING, God will hear us. The delay of twenty-four days from the time Daniel began to exercise self discipline and purification and the response was because other affairs took precedence and had to be completed before the messenger from God could respond.
A lonely silence is often feared by us because in our silence we are often confronted by things in our nature that we do not wish to see. Silence is a great mirror that often reflects the ugly underbelly of our personal existence. That ugly underbelly must be confronted, acknowledged and repented of in order for a clear channel to God’s Spirit from our spirit to be opened. Daniel’s request for UNDERSTANDING was heard immediately because Daniel had been practicing self purification from his youth. He was deeply beloved by God and the angels because he maintained and open channel. He was always connected.
Don’t be deceived. In times of lonely silence you are the closets to God. Don’t try to fill your life with emotional feelings and rhetorical babbling. Heed the words of scripture: Be still and know that I AM God. The I AM of your spirit and God’s Spirit should always be connected. When that is the case you are then part of the infinite whole and the mind of God will be freely open to you with all WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING. Silence your mind, purify your body, humble yourself and you will be able to see as Daniel was able to see. Though Daniel’s men were with him, they could not see what he saw. That is the lot of most of humankind.
It is ironic that in this age of six degrees of separation where everyone is connected to everyone we neglect the most important connection of all. It is the great tragedy of this age: the lost connection to God. Still there is hope. For as in the case of Daniel, if we clear our spiritual channel, God is always listening.
To God Be The Glory, Forever and Ever