Then [the angel] continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.“
Daniel 10:12 (NIV)
Along my life journey, I have encountered a diverse number of individuals who have “set their minds” to various things in life. As I sat in the quiet this morning and let my mind wander down memory lane, a number of people popped into my mind.
The dude whose mind was always set on rock n’ roll, the music, the bands, the history, and the classics. From what I see on social media, that has never changed in 40 years.
The dude whose mind has always been set on being a success in business. He dresses for success, he networks for success, and he closely manages his conversations and relationships so as to leverage them for personal gain.
The girl who set her mind on creating the picture-perfect life. From breast augmentation to glamour shots, from the trophy husband to the perfectly gorgeous and well-dressed children, every post and story is managed and leveraged to impress.
I could continue. From what I’ve observed, people set their minds on everything, including setting their minds on nothing at all.
I found it interesting that the angels visiting Daniel in today’s chapter know him. They know who he is. They know his story. They know that at some point Daniel “set his mind” to live humbly before God and set his mind on the things of God.
In his book Imagine Heaven, John Burke tells of his thirty-five-year study of over 1,000 near-death experiences (NDEs). One of the recurring testimonies of those who have clinically died and experienced heaven is that a complete, written record and transcript exist of our entire earthly life. Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” According to the NDEs that Burke heard and studied, Jesus was not kidding. We will review the entire record of our lives. As one NDE’er expressed:
[The man] stood beside me and directed me to look to my life, where I was replaying my life’s less complimentary moments; I relived those moments and felt not only what I had done but also the hurt I had caused. Some of the things I would have never imagined could have caused pain. I was surprised that some things I may have worried about, like shoplifting a chocolate as a child, were not there whilst casual remarks which caused hurt unknown to me at the time were counted.
It is an introspective time in the quiet this morning as I prepare to launch into a new work week. What have I set my mind upon? What do others see and consider to be the core motives of my life based on my words, my actions, my relationships, my tweets, my posts, and my stories? More importantly, what does heaven see that I have set my mind upon?
As I meditated on these questions, an old liturgical statement welled up from my long-term memory: May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, my God.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.