Sunday, May 31, 2009

He is Not a Tame Lion

From the Word:
Click and Read
Isaiah 55:6-11

Key Verse:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. -Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

Yesterday, I went on a field trip to the zoo with my daughter's Kindergarten class. The highlight of the trip for me was seeing this guy:

My friend, Daiquiri, took this picture with a simple digital camera and no zoom lens. We were literally this close to him, the only thing separating us was a sheet of glass. It was surreal to be so close to a lion. Awe inspiring, really.

Mildly curious, but undisturbed by the strange humans oohing and awing over him, he lounged right by the front of the cage the entire time we were in front of him. He almost appeared cuddly, like I could reach out and pat his furry mane or snuggle up next to him for a nap. But then I saw the scars on his face and realized, this guy is for real. He's not some play thing or a pet. He's dangerous and unsafe. Thank goodness for that glass between us!

The adults seemed to have a healthy respect for him, but the kids were clueless of how dangerous he was as they climbed on the outside of the exhibit and pounded on the glass. Many grew bored with it all and wanted to move on, while their parents stood and stared.

"How often do we see God this way?" I wondered. As clueless little children, forgetting His majesty and power, expecting Him to be "cuddly" and "safe" and to do our own bidding, according to our own will?

C.S. Lewis wove a similar theme throughout his Chronicles of Narnia series. In the books, Aslan the Lion represents Christ. Often the characters are reminded that Aslan is "not a tame Lion." He is powerful, merciful, loving, kind, and trustworthy, but he is not tame, predictable, controllable, or even safe.

I love this quote from Lewis' novel, The Last Battle:

Do you think I keep him in my wallet, fools?" said Tirian. "Who am I that I could make Aslan appear at my bidding? He's not a tame lion."

I enjoyed watching Disney's movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where this concept appeared again through this scene:

Mr. Tumnus: [of Aslan] He's not a tame lion.

Lucy Pevensie: No... but he is good.

What a MIGHTY God we serve! How worthy of our worship! How strong on our behalf! Thank God that He is not safe, not a puppet who dances at our whims, nor a small thing to be contained in the box of our limited understanding. He is HUGE, MAJESTIC, AWESOME, and not at all tame.

Yet, He loves me. He always acts in my defense and on my behalf. All that He does is good, even when I don't understand it. How safe that makes me feel!

And He loves you. Even when He isn't doing what you think He should. Even when His ways are incomprehensible to you, when it feels like He is doing it all wrong, remember that He isn't tame, but He is GOOD.

Personal Application:
Are there circumstances in your life where God isn't acting as you think He should? Take time to confess your desire to control and tame Him. Ask His forgiveness and worship Him despite the circumstances.

I'm not sure who said this, but it fits, "If God were small enough to understand, He wouldn't be big enough to worship." God is worthy of our worship. AND He is knowable. We can snuggle up to Him and feel safe and protected, unlike the lion at the zoo. We just can't expect to control Him.

Father, I worship You. Your ways are not my ways. I submit to Your perfect will. Forgive me for the times I have been more concerned about my own will than Yours and expected you to do my bidding. Thank you for your forgiveness and patience with me. Thank you that in the midst of your majesty and power, you love me, and know me, and have my best interest at heart. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

More of God's Word:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. - Romans 11:33-36 (NIV)


Daiquiri said...

Beautiful. And True. But HARD to really "get" sometimes. Thanks :) (for everything)

The Jernigan Family said...

The Lion sure is beautiful! I remember going to the zoo in Chicago and seeing a giant gorilla behind the glass and getting up close to it and then it got mad and started banging on the glass...that is when you remember to keep a safe distance! Looks like it was a fun day!

Rachel Beran said...

So beautifully written, Becky! And it's a good reminder. God's ways arent' my ways. Sometimes it IS hard to understand what He is doing. I'm kind of ashamed to write this, but sometimes I find myself "praying" but really it's like I'm telling Him what I think He should do. The reality is that really I don't know what the right thing is! I'm so thankful that HE DOES and that I can trust His plan for my life.

Thanks for the post. You are a great writer. So glad you won the She Speaks contest. :) said...

What a very true point and one I often take for granted. Thanks for sharing! And, I linked you up on the carnival... thanks for thinking of me!

Mom said...

Wow, did this hit home. It is amazing how God works. I have been reading the Bible chronologically and the old testament has renewed a new fear of God in me. At first I kept saying that it rocked my faith, but I realized I was using the wrong words to discribe how it was affecting me. It has really renewed the awe and majesty of God in me. Love, Mom

Hilty Sprouts said...

Ahhhhhh! I needed that! Thanks!

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