Reading: Daniel 4
Do you ever feel like you're losing your mind? Like you're on the edge of sanity and teetering? How do you keep your sanity? How do you regain it? Of course, I am using these terms in street vernacular, and not speaking of the more medical sense of the word. However, Nebuchadnezzar really did lose his mind can teach us a lot about how to keep our sanity.
Nebuchadnezzar had a nightmare (Daniel 4:5), and went mad—but not because of the nightmare. The nightmare was only warning him of what was to come. Nebuchadnezzar's insanity was no garden variety madness.
He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. (Daniel 4:33)
What led to this kind of insanity? One day as he was walking on the roof terrace of his royal palace, gazing down across the great city he had built, the accomplishments of his reign, he said to himself:
“Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30)
Immediately, this insanity came on him. And then, we read, “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.” Nebuchadnezzar turned his eyes toward heaven and acknowledged the source of his rule (Daniel 4:34-35). Sanity begins with the acknowledgment of God in turning of our eyes toward heaven.
How often do we live our lives in our own version of insanity? Living our lives in prayerlessness is a declaration that we can do what we do by our own mighty power and for the glory of our own majesty. A prayerless life is a life lived in self-sufficiency, looking only down, or under the sun. This life is moving toward madness! Sanity is living a God-dependent life of prayer, turning our eyes toward heaven. If you need to restore your sanity, then turn back to God, turn your eyes toward heaven, looking to God in dependence, through prayer. (See also Psalm 123:2; 145:15.)
If what keeps you from going to God in prayer is a sense of unworthiness, then keep in mind two things. 1) That you are unworthy, and should never approach God based on your worthiness or lack thereof. 2) That there is a new way to enter God's presence without fear and with confidence to receive mercy in your time of need. Read about that in Hebrews 10:19-22, and never forget it. The new way if rooted in the worthiness of Jesus Christ and not our own. If you know these two things and are still not praying, then obey the imperative of verse 22 of that Hebrews text and stop wasting the work Christ did on your behalf. Regain your sanity.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,