I’ve spent all week reading and re-reading Daniel 1. I’m struck by the difference between Daniel’s story and Charlie’s story (as recorded in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). Charlie had a difficult test. He passed it. As a result, he received everything he ever wanted. Life went back to normal for Charlie only a lot better (he now owned a chocolate factory). Charlie’s life story absorbed Willy Wonka’s.
Daniel acted in trust and obedience. He set his heart upon not defiling himself even though God had caused Daniel to become a captive. He asked the guard for a ten day test even though his first request for a different diet was denied by the chief official.
God acted in loving faithfulness, although it was often unseen. He kept Daniel alive while Judah was reaping the promised consequences. He gave Daniel three companions who followed Daniel’s example when Daniel stood up for what he believed. He gave Daniel favor in the eyes of the chief official. He made Daniel’s test work. He gave Daniel amazing knowledge plus the ability to interpret dreams and visions.
However, this story doesn’t have a quick resolution and fairy tale ending. Daniel remained in Babylon until the first year of King Cyrus. Daniel’s life was completely swallowed up in the story of God. God used him. God blessed him. God protected him. But Daniel, didn’t pass this one food exam and then get to go back home to live happily ever after.
Sometimes I want the story to be about me. I’m willing to be tested, but I want it to quick and then we can all get back to life as normal – only better. The day will come when my life will be perfect because I will be with my Savior forever. But in the mean time, God intends for my life to resemble Daniel’s. It’s time to give up the Willy Wonka version of my life.