Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Ghost and the Darkness

I was 18. It was my first time in Africa. A girl invited me over for a “great movie about lions…if you can take the suspense.”  I told her I could. Pshht, I knew the popular western mindset of lions roaming the streets in Africa was ridiculous. I was too learned to fear. 

The movie was “based off a real story,” but Hollywood exaggerates. Sure, in the movie over a hundred people were devoured by the Tsavo lions and on film they seemed eerily smart and devious - even for a dangerous, predatory animal.  I figured a handful of people were killed during the railroad building and the producers took it from there.  The movie was suspenseful (yes, I screamed), but it didn’t make me afraid of a real life attack at all. It was fun. The movie ended with: If you want to see the lions today, you must go to America. They are at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Even now, if you dare lock eyes with them, you will be afraid.” Bah. Stuffed animals intimidating? Pretty much forgot the whole thing and had a great time NOT getting eaten by lions or kidnapped by Basotho in Lesotho who speak Sesotho (but that’s another story for another time :).

Fast forward a decade. My friend took me to the Field Museum in Chicago a few months ago and we saw the infamous Tsavo lions. Their eyes are strangely bright and I didn’t look into them for long, but I did definitely appreciate their size and strength!  If I had met a full-grown one in Africa, forget the idea of a bare-handed struggle, I would have been the one who died, let me tell you.  One thing embedded into my memory at the museum that day was that all those years ago in Africa I was wrong.  The story wasn’t really blown that much out of proportion. Those lions killed over a hundred people for real!  And they were cunning!  These were not the cuddly babies I met in Johannesburg:

I watched The Ghost and the Darkness last night and it made me even more curious about reality.  In his memoirs, Patterson (the man who killed the man-eaters) wrote: "(The lions') methods became so uncanny, and their man-stalking so well-timed and so certain of success, that the workmen firmly believed they were not real animals at all, but devils in lions' shape."  Oh man. Of course that made me think of I Peter 5:8 where Christians are told to be sober, be vigilant, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  After the movie, what a mental picture that brings! Those who rise up against people trusting in the LORD and false prophets are also like lions lurking in secret places, eager to tear into their prey (Psalm 17:12, Ezekiel 22:25).

But before incorrectly typifying all lions as “evil,” our LORD Himself is called the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5, Hosea 11:10-11)! Lions are often seen as pinnacles of strength in Scripture.  How amazing is that that the God is on our side?  Even more amazing than a terrifying, yet good lion walking around defending you all the time!

Amazingly to me, Christians are also said to be bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1)! Scripture also talks about the power of two together being stronger than lions (2 Samuel 1:23, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). I admit I don’t always feel that bold, but when I don’t should look to my LORD who by grace has declared me righteous. May all we who trust in Him be encouraged toady!  Yes, we will be strongly attacked, but He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Our Saviour is Most Powerful and He has already won the victory, praise be to His name! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said! (those Scripture verses)
Time goes so fast! I was in middle school when I first saw this movie (in French of course) on TVM(Televiziona Malagasy).

A Malagasy Christian Reader