Tuesday, May 20, 2008

4 Minute Devotionals: Living with Lions

Nature can be a terrifying and destructive force. Our faith is in God, who is above nature. When we seek Him, God enables us to find what we need. A devotional about he lions of Serengeti and my daughter's upcoming mission trip to Tanzania.

Podcast version here

Psalm 34:10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

I was watching a nature program on the Discovery channel the other night. It was about a super pride of lions in the Serengeti Park of East Africa. The savagery of these big cats is awesome and their strength is absolutely amazing. When I watched them pull down their prey and feast on the corpses, it made me shudder and revere the lions at the same time. I was quite thankful to be viewing them in the comfort of my home and not somewhere on the great plains of Africa.

I also watched the program because it was based in the Tanzanian part of the Serengeti. My youngest daughter Lauren will be going on mission there for thirteen weeks, starting on the 1st June. She’s already left the United States and is enjoying a week with her family and friends in Scotland. She’s also preparing herself physically, mentally, and spiritually for what I call her ‘African adventure’. I hope that she also gets to see some of the wildlife in Tanzania and maybe a few lions, but at a safe distance.

The Discovery program showed some of the lean times that the super pride endured. When prey was scarce, some of the younger cubs starved and the older lions grew very weak. It’s part of the process of living in the jungle, where the survival of the fittest is always the law of the land. It was distressing to watch some of the weaker cubs die, but it also made me thankful for the bounty of blessings that God has given to my family and me.

I guess that’s why I like this verse from Psalm 34. It reminds all of us about the forces of nature which cause hardship at times to wildlife, but it also describes our dependency upon God’s favor and blessings. He is above the powers of nature – which is the meaning of the word ‘supernatural’ – so when we truly seek Him, He enables us to meet our needs.

I hope and pray that when Lauren works with the orphaned children in Tanzania that her world view will change and her dependency upon God will be stronger than ever. And when she returns at the end of August, I look forward to learning new aspects of faith from her.

Prayer: Lord God, we thank You for the bounty of blessings in our lives, especially in these troubled times where thousands of others have lost everything due to the ravaging and terrifying power of Nature. With our resources, help us to share the blessings of what we have with those who have not. Teach us to depend upon the riches of Your grace, so that we, in turn, can give of our lives to those in most need. In Christ’s Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Feedback Question: When have you experienced God’s bounty and then used it as a blessing to share with others?

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Send your feedback answers to him at pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.


Molly said...

Tanzania and the Appalachian Mountains may be half way around the world from each other, but your post reminded me of Trail Thoughts, a devotional book I recently acquired. Eric Kampmann writes from his perspective on the Appalachian Trail, beautifully weaving scripture and thought provoking faith. I wish your daughter well on her mission.

Stushie said...

Thanks Molly. I appreciate the information about the book...sounds like a great summer read. And thanks for the blessing upon Lauren.

God be with you.