Just before America jumped into the last world war, Great Britain had her back against the wall. Hitler had consumed most of Europe, was making heavy inroads into Russia and was working on a new rocket system that would blast England off the map. During such a critical time, it was considered almost a crime to be a conscientious objector, one who would refuse to bear arms and defend his own country. Those who stood by their convictions were placed in special camps. They were dishonored, humiliated and sometimes openly persecuted. This is really where our story begins.
It was a dark overcast day as two army sergeants marched a young Irish objector down the middle of his home street. Most of the neighbors stood in their doorways, hissing their hatreds; they were chanting together, “Shame, Shame, Shame.” Yet following the boy in every footstep was his aged mother, her head held high, repeating again and again in cadence with each step, “Dare To Be A Daniel, Andrew – Dare To Be A Daniel.”
The world looks for conviction today and does not know where to find it. Daniel of old was a young man of conviction. A strong, healthy, good-looking Jew, a captive from another land – yet, he refused to eat the king’s meat and drink the king’s wine with the others. Later he refused to bow down to the idol gods of the land, and for his stand was thrown into the den of lions. Yet, while Darius, the king, walked nervously in the palace, Daniel was quiet in the lion’s den.
Today, the world needs an Andrew that dares to be a Daniel. This very principle would create statesmen out of politicians; make preachers out of puppets and put a fresh backbone into a nation of backsliders, it would put fathers back as the “head of the home” and bring respect back to the heart of the children.
Joseph was a young man of conviction. He was honored above his brethren, born of a favorite wife, given a coat of many colors and in his dreams; he was to be elevated above all in the household. His brothers hated him, they plotted against him. They sold him into Egyptian bondage. Yet, you know the story how that he was raised in the house of Potiphar. Later, he was cast into prison because Potiphar’s wife lied about him. (Talk about a soap opera!) Yet, while a prisoner, he interpreted the dreams of King Pharaoh and was made second in command of all Egypt. His brothers took his coat of many colors away, but they couldn’t take away his convictions. Joseph went to Egypt with all of his character. Most people know what they oppose Joseph knew what he stood for. Conviction and character are made of the same stuff.
Generations come and go. Times change along with customs and countries. Yet, the strength of conviction contains the power of receiving, believing, obeying, living and dying for the right. “Truth pressed to earth shall rise again,” but only in the arms of a person of conviction.
God help us today to “Dare to be a Daniel.” It is worth it to be able to read “God’s handwriting on the wall.”