Protection in the lions’ den

Hanging above my bed is a painting by Briton Riviere, “Daniel’s Answer to the King.” It is a deeply inspiring image depicting a scene from the well-known Bible story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Daniel has his back to the lions. He’s looking up and out of the den toward the light, with a peaceful expression that makes it clear he feels God’s loving presence, even in his humanly dire situation. He appears fearless, trusting God wholly for his protection. Each morning this painting reminds me of the day Daniel’s story came to my rescue, and spoke to me in a way that brought relief and healing during my darkest hour.

I was nineteen. Inspired by attending the 1969 Christian Science Biennial College Meeting at The Mother Church in Boston, I returned home to discover that I had been unexpectedly drafted into the United States Army. Within days my entire life was upended—I was sent to boot camp and advanced infantry training, and five months later I was deployed to Vietnam, to a division in the heavily contested Mekong Delta, where I received two additional weeks of region-specific tactical training, stressing the territory’s steamy climate, leeches, mosquitos, venomous snakes, booby traps, and guerrilla warfare.

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