"The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom."Daniel 1:19-20
Sometimes, God puts us in places, in jobs in situations, that make us go, "Wha?" This was one of those situations for Daniel and his three buddies with terribly difficult names. They're in Babylon, their people in captivity to a king who makes gods out of gold and mocks the One True God. Once part of the royal family themselves, they're now being auditioned to be servants for this blasphemous king.
To be honest, if I was in Daniel and Company's position, I would be tempted to try and sabotage the king. Give bad advice, get him in trouble with other companies, gossip about his bad breath, you know. That kind of thing. He's a bad guy, right? Why do a good job?
Daniel and the guys do the exact opposite. They thrive. Even though I think they're probably wondering what God is up to, not understanding why He would put them in this place, they work hard. They are wise advisers, helpful servants to a man who captured and is oppressing their people.
Right now, I'm not so sure about this place that I'm in. I don't know why I don't have a full-time teaching job. I don't know why my subbing jobs are coming so far apart, leaving me at home for a good chunk of the time. I'm trying to do like Daniel and his buddies, though- thrive in this confusing place. Do the best I can at the tasks He's given me for now. The New Testament echoes that same thing... "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ..." Philippians 1:27a. I've got to live my life in alignment with Christ, being the very best person I can. Be the best at-home-wife I can be, be the best substitute teacher I can be. The best neighbor, the best friend.
Daniel probably never thought that he'd be servant to a foreign king, that he'd eventually be tested in his faith, thrown in a lions den, and become a prophet for God. He was part of the royal family, after all- maybe his plan for his life was to be governor of some town, get married, have a little family and rule his town well. Who knows.
All I know is that God had big plans for Daniel, plans he probably didn't see coming. Maybe that's the way it will be for me. My plans are human plans. God may have a very different path mapped out for my life. That path isn't up to me- my job is just to do my very best in every situation God puts me in, even if my best doesn't feel good enough, even if the situation doesn't make any sense at all.
My life doesn't look the way I thought it would a year ago. I'm not where I thought I would be. But I'm going to bloom in this place, in the life where God planted me.