Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
It was evening and our safari vehicle had pulled near the location of a pride of lions. There was another vehicle parked in front of us with a clear view of the animals. The safari vehicle motor was turned off and another world opened to my ears. In the dark other animals, birds and insects chatter all around our area. A couple of people whispered, I see the lions. The chatter increased as the lions begin to stir. Then I finally see the female lion standing down at the bottom of a drainage ditch. She turns and slowly begins to ascend in our direction. The whispering became too much and the guide quickly quieted the group with a quick hush . . . shhhhh! A small path between the trees and brush supplied the window to see the lion, now it was the direction of its exit from a long day’s sleep. As she begins the short climb up an embankment a second male lion comes into view and starts the same climb.
a lion, mighty among beasts,
who retreats before nothing;
They are coming right at us. Only 20 feet . . . now 10 and finally they are right beside our vehicle. I wondered if they would look up and take note of us. My mind raced with uncertainty. Would he jump up in the vehicle and attack us? The eerie feeling of the king of beasts preparing to make another kill is breath taking. Especially when you realize the intention of the animal is to kill.
The jet black is punctuated with some lights from the safari vehicle and Cathy holds one of those lamps. Thoughts race through my mind as they step closer and then I realize they take no note of us. They literally walk beside our vehicle and disappear into the darkness. I could have reached out and touched their back because they were so close. Fear, exhilaration, heart stopping anxiety and damp coolness from the night air all swirled in my heart. That was a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life.
It is a powerful picture of the king of this world beginning his evening ritual. Satan is compared to this majestic animal. But what caught my eye were things such as the realization that you are so vulnerable in his presence. I had not considered the potential of being his prey. His focus . . . his resolve . . . was razor sharp and clearly directed. My presence was insignificant to him and he walked on by. Many of us think naively that Satan would certainly not bother with us. We are protected by our position and our childish ideas that disconnect us from the affects of the spiritual world.
I realized in that moment that we are just as vulnerable to Satan as we were to those lions. The real struggle is . . . he is looking to devour our hearts, lives, futures and past. His cold focus has no regard for our status, our dreams, our hopes and our plans. We naively sit in his path thinking we are safe from this danger . . . and all he needs to do is glance up and take note of us.
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.