I was struck recently by a phrase repeated twice in the 10th chapter of Daniel. An otherworldly guest, an angel, visits Daniel. Completely devastated and immobilized by the appearance and glory of this heavenly being, Daniel is in need of strength and reassurance. Thankfully both are given in short order.
What I find particularly interesting is how the angel addresses Daniel. He says, “O Daniel, man greatly loved.” (Vss.11 & 19) The angel certainly has more to say than this curious and tender personal address. However, I am confident that his words were quite comforting to hear. Daniel is literally speechless with shock when the angel appears. From the description of his physical response it seems as if he loses consciousness, is revived, and is then physically trying to avoid eye contact and is mute. Each time the angel speaks to Daniel words of strength and reassurance, “O man greatly loved.”
Have you ever felt struck down by the presence of holiness? Have you ever sensed the overwhelming presence of goodness versus your obvious lack of the same? There have been occasions where I have felt a little bit of the immobilizing sense of horror that Daniel must have felt that day. Sometimes this has happened on the heels of a failure in my life.
Too many times I have been reminded of God’s perfect standard of holiness in contrast with my personal sense of shame. It is on these occasions that I find it especially helpful to receive the same comfort given to Daniel through the voice of the Spirit as recorded in New Covenant Scripture. One passage of comfort – of reassuring grace is found in Eph. 1:6 where it is said that through grace, God “has blessed us in the Beloved.” Amazing, isn’t it, to think that sinful people can be transformed into blessed sons and daughters of God?
It is transformative to realize that despite our failures, we are in union with Jesus – the Beloved of God. In chapter 2:15 we see that union with Christ in the reality of Jesus being our substitute and thus “making peace.” We are at peace with a holy God because we are in the Beloved of God, Jesus Christ. Meditating on these truths gives me strength and reassurance. I belong. I am loved. I am beloved of God. I am a “man greatly loved.”
Earlier this year, in August, our church hosted an adoption fair for older kids in OKDHS care. Attending the event were about 40 children ranging from age 12-18. The reality is that as a child ages his or her chances at being chosen for adoption declines. The reason we hosted an older child adoption fair was to create a venue where these kids would have a better opportunity to find a “forever family”. At last report, five kids were in the process of being placed for adoption as a result of this fair. The reality is, however, most will probably not be adopted. Most will never be wanted. Most know it. Many of these children still hold out a glimmer of hope longing to hear that they are greatly loved. Most won’t ever hear it. Please consider helping us change this reality. For more information on how to get started please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.