Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

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lion heartless — May 14, 2020

lion heartless

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Those were the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 4th, 1933, as he became the 32nd President of the United States. 

Those words would have been just as relevant had he said them yesterday.  The grip of Covid seems to be loosening a little, and yet the experts are predicting a lingering and significant financial fallout and possibly a recycling of the virus. 

Be that as it may, the greatest threat has been and still is fear – fear of reopening for business, fear that my business won’t recover, fear that there will never be a vaccine, fear that my job is lost forever, fear that I’ll be sued if I cough at the grocery store, fear that my kids are never gonna get back to school.

And fear can make us do funny and irrational things. 

It was a zoo day for my wife and I and our youngest who was maybe 11 at the time.  We wandered over to the East Texas section to gaze upon bobcats, otters and eagles. 

As we rounded the corner, we came face-to-face with a mountain lion.  We do not have mountains in East Texas, but evidently, we have mountain lions.  They must use the same map app that I use.

Anyway, the lion was behind a wall of thick plexiglass and was settled far back in his faux natural enclosure.  She noticed us and lifted her head with curiosity.  My son entertained her with some antics that piqued her interest even more.  In fact, she tensed and began to slowly rise to her feet.  Her gaze was fixed on my son like he was a tasty gazelle.

And then, in a flash, she exploded forth (at 40 mph according to the experts) and didn’t stop until she came within a millimeter of the plexiglass.   It happened in 2 seconds. 

My wife and I were stunned – awestruck.  We looked over to see how our son reacted, but – He was gone.  He had run 30 feet away in the opposite direction also at 40 mph.

We nearly fell down laughing.  After all, the cat was contained.  She was securely controlled yet still he fled in fear. 

Some of us are running with him.     

But we need to know that our God has caged that which threatens us.  This is to say that our God is in control – total and complete – and this containment exceeds the strength of plexiglass. 

This is how the Psalmist put it, “Look! Israel’s Protector does not sleep or slumber. The Lord is your protector; the Lord is the shade at your right hand.  The sun will not harm you by day, or the moon by night.  The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. The Lord will protect you in all you do, now and forevermore.”  – Psalm 121: 4-8 NET Bible ®

Did you catch how often the words protect and Protector were used?  Go back and read it again.  Our God is here to protect us from the razor-sharp claws of Covid   He contains the jaw-crushing bite to business.   There is no reason to run in fear.  

It’s been said that nothing can touch us which has not first passed through the hands of God. Now it’s true, He will sometimes allow us to be distressed in order to grow us and nudge us closer to Him, but never will He allow us to be destroyed – distressed but never destroyed.  

I confess that if I were to graph the level of my hope these days, it might track with the erratic ups and downs of the stock market.   Embarrassing but true.

My hope and yours, needs to be fixed not a fixed rate of return, but on the Lord of whom it was said, “For he has put everything in subjection under his feet.” – 1 Corinthians 15:27 NET Bible ®

Take a moment today to peer through your particular plexiglass pane.  What is it on the other side that causes you to tense up?  Then plant your feet before it, knowing that God stands between you and that threat. 

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