All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits, they have their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. — William Shakespeare

In the world of theater and movies, everything focuses us on what is happening on the screen and on the stage. The same is true for our lives, isn’t it? On the stage of this world, we naturally focus on what is happening around us. The things you can see. The things you can hear. The things you can feel. Yes, left to ourselves, we will naturally focus only the stage around us where the laughter rolls and the tears flow as our lives seem to play out according to a random script.

No doubt, that Daniel and his friends felt swept away in a horrible script as they examined the stage around them. Forced into exile in Babylon, kidnapped from their families, taken miles and miles and miles away, most likely made into eunuchs (ouch), forced to study things that were repulsive to them, forced to eat things that were contrary to the law of God… and the only thing they had to look forward to was serving the most evil man on the planet for the rest of their lives? Not the role they dreamed for themselves at all.

The Psalmists conveyed the deep, disturbing drama that played out for the Jews in those days of exile. 

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
(Psalm 137:1-4)

You can relate, can’t you? Think about it. Sure, maybe you haven’t been taken captive by an invading army yet. But the fact is that we are all aliens and strangers in this land, and great drama plays out as we play our parts as Christians on the stage of this fallen world.

But you know what? What happens on this stage of life is only a very small portion of the full story. Just like in the theater and the movies, the real production is taking place “backstage” and “behind the scenes,” just out of sight.

Daniel and his young friends brought with them into exile an acute awareness that the “backstage”—the spiritual dimension behind the scenes—was not only real, it  was even more important than the drama they were experiencing on the stage. This realization makes the historical account of Daniel stunningly potent for us today as we play out our lives on the stage of the modern world: There is the physical world that we can see, and there is a greater spiritual reality constantly working behind the scenes.

Dear God, as I take the stage again today, constantly remind me that I am playing out part of the grand eternal drama which has already been written in Your Word and which You are directing scene by scene. I place my trust in You Lord. Today, show me what You want me to do. Give me the lines You want me to speak. Amen.

Taken from Pete’s series Living in Exile: God Working Behind the Scenes.