Monday, December 3, 2012

When the Lion Roars

Have you ever seen a “lion?” I’m not talking about one that is stuffed and sits on your bed or one behind the bars of a cage at your local zoo. Nor I’m talking about a little Simba. I’m talking about “Mufasa”- a king of his area- out in the wild in his own territory?

Last year, I had the unique and wonderful experience to on a REAL safari. Yep, it was a real one and a big one to the Maasai Game Park in Kenya. My travel mates and fellow adventurers- were Dr. Magdy and his wife- Maureen, and their good friend-Jim. We were excited. This was the kind of thing most had only read about in books or watched on Natural Geographic. We were living the dream!

 I loved it from the beginning. The early morning rise times, the land rovers speeding out over what looked like untouched lands, the beauty of the sun and open grasslands…it was stunning. And I felt like I was in a movie.

I loved seeing the elephants walking lazily swinging their trunks.

I loved the giraffes almost strutting with their gentle grace.

I loved the huge hippos just chilling on the river’s edge…looking like big pieces of blubber.

Amazing too was to see the zebras, cheetahs, buffalo, monkeys, flamingos, crocodiles, and other animals in the "wild."

But what terrified me and intrigued me at the same time were the lions.

One of the first nights on the Mara in a pouring rain storm- I glimpsed these magnificent cats tearing a cow to shreds.

Gulp. Our land rover seemed too small a barrier for these huge animals having dinner. I cowered in my seat. Could this be real?

A few days later…we saw some “simbas.” Now they were cute. But their Mommas were intimidating.

But everyone really wanted to secretly get a glimpse of a Big Daddy, A King. Those big guys were rare to see.

But, one afternoon…we got lucky. About four land rovers surrounded some tall grass and trees and our guide whispered… there’s a big “daddy” in there. We waited and hoped for at least a glimpse. I was too scared to lift my head out of the top of our vehicle, fearing the big guy would jump on us or something. I was content to just look out the window. Well, I remember in an amazing moment, this big daddy lion lifted his huge head and I looked right into his big face and snapped this picture.

I collapsed back in my seat in stunned wonder. I had just seen a “King.” Wow.

And I could only imagine how terrifying and commanding his roar would be. I would never want to mess with him.

All of these lion memories came to mind this past week for me. It began when I noticed lion statues everywhere. There’s a deep historical tie between Ethiopia and Israel- and the tribe of Judah.

Then a big disturbance happened this past week on our campus that brought the lions into focus. For the first time since I’ve been teaching here…I saw clear religious division and disunity at one of our school events and I was deeply disturbed.

One student came to me later and said…don’t be upset teacher. It was hard for me to explain to her what I was feeling. I felt like a lion was stirring deep inside and he was about to roar. The irritation felt from deep in me and stronger than me. It felt like God was upset.

Our King, Jesus, is described many ways. But culture has tended to paint him as a little forenj, a porcelain white baby who only brings peace and goodness to all. But Jesus is a King, more royal than any lion, and more powerful. Listen to how He is described …

Revelation 5:4-5
.no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll…”

Revelation 19:11-16
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns…His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords….

Yes, we have a merciful high priest who took the form of a lamb- becoming the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind’s sins once and for all. The strength and restraint He showed in that ultimate act is stunning. The Lion of Judah, the all-powerful Son of God, allowed himself to enter into the creation He had made, the creator becoming part of the created. He allowed himself to be confined to human skin- to a dying body in a decaying and dying planet. All- so His Father’s will would be accomplished. This Lion became the Lamb of God. This act would forever defeat death. And this King is our King. He stood and stands against injustice, pride, religious piosy, greed, apathy. And His roar can shake the heavens, crumble the earth. And this King, this Lion of Judah, has our “backs.” And calls us to also stand for truth and justice.
We’re part of a kingdom. Can people tell that of your life? That you’re under the authority of a King? That you’re a steward/a manager on planet earth- and that your king is returning soon?

May we take a stand and speak up as lead by our King. I believe God will strategically place us to speak and stand in the face of wrong.

Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Psalm 9:7-8, 16
The Lord reigns forever…He will govern the people with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. The Lord is known by His justice…

Psalm 106:3
Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.

Micah 6:8
What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I remember one time I was asked to do the devotion for a Christian High School chapel time. I had prepared a word of encouragement for them. As I sat in their audience during their praise and worship time- I saw many not involved or doing other things. There was apathy, a ton of it, and a lack of respect. I felt the lion beginning to stir in me. When I got up to speak- let’s just say- what came out was more like a roar. God talked through me that day. I left in a hurry…convinced I would never be asked to speak there again. And the one of the administrators called me later and said- Holly- what you said is what needed said. Thank you so much.

Here in Ethiopia, there are many to mention- who I believe reflect the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. My former co-worker, Debelle, being one. This gentle soul is one of the kindest and most pure in heart and faith I’ve ever met. But against injustice, bad management, the Lion in him, the Spirit of the Most High God, roars.

Debelle and his family
I think of recent events in this dear brother’s life- when he’s hand to stand against injustice and he’s made the hard call. Even when his wife has fallen ill in recent days, like a lion watching over his pride, his family- he has not waivered in doing the right thing and the most that he can do, while still honoring God with his words and faith.

Debelle watching over his wife, Chale, still in the hospital
I think of another former teammate, Abrahm. He also to me reflects the Lion. He has no patience for injustice and speaks against it with boldness and wisdom of someone much older than his years.

These two “greats” I can see God clearly reflected in.

As we continue on the road of life, we will definitely see injustice. We will see many things that God does not like. May God position us to represent Him and speak and stand and let him roar truth as needed. May God give us his discernment and favor as we continue on the journey home.

Praying this for you as you pray for me.


Prayer Requests
-Please keep my Dad’s back surgery-recovery in prayer. He still has to wear a brace for a few more weeks and continues to have some pain in his leg.
-Please keep my Mom and Sister also in prayer, for good health.
-Please pray for our staff and students here. Last week seemed to bring out religious divisions. Pray our “Lion” will roar His truth.
-Please keep my dear friend Debelle’s wife- Chale in prayer. She continues to battle for her life and as of today, is stable.
-Please pray for God’s plan for me in possibly coming stateside for Christmas and that things would be provided for and covered in that.
-Please pray for the draft of my book as I continue to write, that God will help me finish 
-Please pray for my way ahead, that God will maximize me for his Kingdom

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