Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lessons from Lions not named Aslan

I like good stories. Most people do. And when they are true, that makes those stories only that much better. Relevant magazine reported a story of a young Ethiopian gal abducted from her home and forced to marry some crazy dude from another village.

The girl, who had been missing for a week, was the captive of seven men who had beat her and intended to marry her. But before they could seriously harm her, three lions appeared and—holy moly, can you even believe it?—stood guard over the girl until she was found by police. Government authorities suspect that the girl's crying reminded the lions of mewing cubs and they took her under their incredible golden paws until they were certain she was safe.“They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said. “If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage.”

This story is quite amazing, and amazing for a number of reasons.

First of all, Lions and humans are literally enemies. 

Despite a recent crackdown, hunters kill the animals for their skins, which can fetch $1,000. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild. 

There obviously aren't many lions left because people have killed them. You wouldn't be surprised for Lions to return the favor. And obviously they have. While The Grey depicted inaccurate repeated wolf on human predations (glad for the opportunity to use that word!), The Ghost and the Darkness actually told the true story of two lions regularly killing numerous railroad workers in Africa.

Next, because there aren't too many lions left, what are the "chances," of lions, much less three friendly lions, happening upon this crying gal?

Here are some more thoughts on this amazing story.

1.) My parents visited South Africa and learned of another group of three lions killing prey and bringing it to their crippled brother lion to eat. These top notch predators didn't not actually believe in "survival of the fittest." Darwin must have been ticked. So these Ethiopian trio of lions are not the first "thoughtful" (can we say that in regards to animals?) lions out there. Who knows how many of them are forgetting what they are supposed to do, and are saving rather than killing?

2.) Obviously this is amazing because wild animals, outside of dolphins don't tend to intervene and protect folks. The wolf will always chase the lamb. And so will the lion, although at this point I'm beginning to hold that with less certainty. Regardless, this present order of things will not always be present. And that is God's present to us, and to Himself, for His glory. The old order will pass away and the new will come. Indeed in Revelation 21:5, at the onset of this completed heavenly order coming down to earth we see John explain 

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

The newness has already begun, and will be completed one day. In addition, Paul also reminds us in II Cor 5:17

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

The ministry of Jesus through his life/death/resurrection and his concomitant ministry through His disciples is evidence that the new order has already broken into to the old order. Now we experience the overlap. But such an intrusion from of this "new creation" should encourage us that things will not always be the way they are. The devastation of bombing and accidental explosions is not the way things will one day be. While I'm still hesitant to allow my 2 1/2 year old to go up and pet a lion the way he would a big yellow lab, I recognize that day is coming. Indeed, there is evidence even now, albeit small, that the new order of things has already impacted even the animal world. I think these two trios of lions "testify" to the presence of this new order, again in seed form, having already broken through.

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