The male lion - what a magnificent, noble beast! The ‘King of the Jungle’ -his roar strikes terror into his prey. What a powerful image of Israel’s fear of its enemies, ‘Their roaring is like a lion, like young lions they roar; they growl and seize their prey, they carry it off, and no one can rescue it,’ (Is. 5. 29). No wonder Amos exclaims, ‘The lion has roared; who will not fear?’ (Amos 3. 8). Its paws can tear its prey apart; its powerful jaws can readily crush and devour anything it fancies to eat. Clearly, a lion should be approached with great caution! Mess about with lions at your peril. The same is true of the devil, as St. Peter warns us, “Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5. 8).
But I have had to modify this terrifying image of the fearsome lion. While searching the internet, I stumbled across a beautiful picture of a male lion with its cub. I was immediately struck by the tender bond between fearsome father and vulnerable child. The normally unapproachable, intimidating male lion could so easily have made a meal of its tiny, defenceless cub. And yet he welcomed it with gentle tenderness. The head of the pride of lions seems to smile with such pride!
As for the tiny cub, I’m amazed at its trust. It dared to approach the handsome, powerful male lion, to rest its nose tenderly against that of the Lord of the Jungle. That’s something I’d never dare do –even though I’m much bigger than the cub. And the simple reason for its confidence –the cub dared to recognize him as his ‘father.’ And the father acknowledged the cub as his child.
What a wonderful image of our relationship with God! The King of the Jungle powerfully expresses the unapproachable, awesome majesty of the Lord of Heaven and Earth. We must never lose sight of that. And yet we dare to draw close to Him, without fear of being destroyed. And the simple reason for our confidence? Almighty God has shared His life with us. He recognizes and welcomes us as His children. That gives us the trust to approach the awesome God of Majesty –not the King of the Jungle, but Lord of Heaven and Earth. Because He acknowledges us as His children we dare to call Him ‘Father.’ That gives us the confidence, the trust, the love to presume to approach Almighty God without fear of being destroyed.
The picture of the relationship between the lion and his cub has given me a beautiful insight into a new way of meeting God. This combines respect for His awesome majestic power, while daring to approach God, who is full of tenderness and love. The reason for this confidence? -the bond of love between our heavenly Father, and us, His children.
P.S. I would like to thank the photographer -unknown to me -who took the magnificent picture which inspired this posting. Please send me your name, so that I can publically express my gratitude.