Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You Can't Make the Tree in Time

I have been reflecting on life this past week. Not the day to day activities but the life I have lived and the lives the people I have had the honor of knowing. Some jump out quickly such as my Dad, a man of almost reckless faith. Others are buried in long ago memories of my childhood. One grabbed me this last Sunday as I listened to Gayla Congdon talk about her new, and first, book, “Disrupted.” She referenced a story that spawned a great book for men, “In a pit with a lion on a snowy day” by Mark Batterson. It was sparked by the story of Benaiah found in 2 Samuel 23:20-21 and it is about facing your greatest fears with abandon. I knew a real life Benaiah who I meant for the first time at the age of 11 in the remote community of Gawa in Zimbabwe.
Jawawa Sihole was a teacher for the mission’s school in that area. He had made his living as a young man by hunting lions causing problems in the region, but, moved to education in his twenties. He had offered to help me find a buck I had wounded but could not track in the rocky terrain of that area. The hunt was successful and as hunters young and old do at the end of a successful effort we built a fire and began to tell stories. Well, he told stories as my repertoire was pretty slim.
I asked him what it was like to hunt lions. He told me the most effective way was to kill a small buck and then drag it through the bush making sounds like a lioness that has just brought down a kill calling the rest of the pride. Then the object was to climb a sturdy tree and wait for them to come to you. At that point you could pick them off one at a time.
I picked at the obvious hole in the method when I asked, “But don’t they sometimes come before you get up the tree?”
“Yes,” he replied, “and then you just have to get them before they get you, but, if you turn and try to get to the tree, they will eat you.” This from a man whose only weapons were a spear, bow, and, arrows, all hand made.
It strikes me as good advice for our daily walk. Each of us is a meal for the evil in the world. Sometimes we can sit in a safe location surrounded by family and friends who are lion killers themselves. However, most of the time we are a walking meal and when Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is a prowling lion looking for someone to devour we must be prepared to stand and fight without reinforcements. The warning of this story is, don’t turn your back on that lion, you can defeat him with the weapons of faith and Godly courage.
That is why Peter encourages us to stand firm and resist. Remember we are heavily armored against all attacks from the front. There is only failure in fleeing. Whatever your present temptations and trials, stand firm in your faith, resist, and the evil will run from you. Even if you are wounded in the encounter, God, Peter promises, will restore you.

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