Are you a lion?
This week I had two encounters with the lion.
Ooops—obviously not a real encounter or else I wouldn’t be writing this column anymore (lol).
First, I saw this YouTube footage showing two men, Ace and John, who get reunited with a lion they took care of as a cub in London. When Christian, the lion, grew bigger, they had to return it to its natural habitat in Africa. Animal experts dissuaded them from their plan to see the lion again a year after because it already had its own pride and would be a wild one. But the two went anyway and after days of looking for Christian, they found him, and the rest was an emotional reunion. The video showed how the lion ran towards Ace and John and threw itself at them, almost knocking them down. For several minutes, it was a scene that made me smile and tugged my heart. The humans and the lion together playing and hugging!
Second, I heard in our community prayer meeting about the story of Daniel who was thrown into a den of lions but came out unharmed the following day. This famous story in the Bible has been told to children and adults time and again but in the teaching, I learned something new.
So the story is about Daniel, who became a trusted man of King Darius of Babylon because he was a good worker. The other servants of the king became jealous so they planned to get rid of Daniel.
They tricked the king into believing that the people agreed on a law punishing anyone who prays to other gods aside from the king. They will be thrown into the lions’ den. They knew Daniel would not agree to this.
True enough, when the law was passed, the more Daniel knelt and prayed to God. The servants reported this to the king, and though Daniel was his favorite, the king sadly ordered him thrown into the lions’ den.
But when the lions were poised to eat him, God sent an angel who shut the mouths of the lions. The king jumped with joy and immediately freed Daniel. There wasn’t a scratch on him because he trusted in God.
So what’s with these lion encounters for me this week?
I felt like I was a lion in certain situations in my life.
I am a fierce loyalist in relationships. I stand up for my friends, I love with all my heart and I reciprocate care even if not told to do so. Sometimes, this is done to a fault that people abuse my love. Once, a friend cautioned me not to give too much. But that’s how I don’t forget people who have shown me love and care. Include animals, too, because I also love my pet Labrador with all my heart, like a real baby, because she brings me joy and is very loyal, too. I told myself, “I am just like Christian the lion who forgot he was a devouring lion when he saw the two men who took care of him when he was a cub.”
In Daniel’s story, I felt I was the lion, too, when our preacher asked why the lion didn’t use its big paws to overpower the angel who shut its mouth.
That’s true. The lion’s mouth was shut but its paws were still free and could have smacked down the angel. But it did not because somehow it knew that his paws were nothing compared to the truth—that Daniel didn’t do anything wrong.
I admit there have been times I felt God stopping me from doing something I wanted to do so much. I thought my plans were good but something happens and it fails. Or I wanted to have something and I believed I deserved it, but it doesn’t get to me. It’s like God stops things that I wanted from happening. And I end up so frustrated that I ask, “Why, God?”
Later on, I would realize that God stopped it actually for my own good.
Lessons learned. The lion that the angel restrained from eating Daniel knew that even if it used his big paws to defeat the angel, God’s plan would still prevail to save Daniel because he was doing something good.
Look back on the things that you wanted but didn’t get or those plans that you wanted to happen but didn’t. Then recall what happened after that. Weren’t you in a better position because you didn’t get what you wanted?
God knows what’s best for us. No one else does. He knows everything that’s going to happen, and so if He sees it will harm us, He will do everything He can to protect us, even if it means restraining us, shutting our mouth or making us weep with anger and frustration. Tough love. But that’s how great God’s love is . . . for us.
So who are you—the loyal lion or the restrained lion?
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