Earlier this month, Micah and I embarked on a daily hunt for lions – in, out, and about Brisbane, Australia. You might consider this to be a curious choice of action in the land of koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras. However, the lion hunt was something I wanted to do with my son as he finished up his last full week in Australia and after Micah serving a very full and eventful year with the Pais Movement.
The lion hunt held a special purpose.
To provide just a little history, it was twenty-five years ago when I joined my God in my first life-changing lion hunt in Germany. Then, just a week after my return from Germany, my God set me upon another heart-stretching, soul-healing, adventurous lion hunt in Oregon as well. I’ve shared this faith story more times than I can remember. However, I’ve never put the story to paper. Maybe one day I will, but not today. Today, I want to share about Micah’s and my hunt for lions and why we did it – in Australia.
My time with Micah Man in Australia had a three-fold purpose. First, I wanted to make some fun, never-to-forget memories with my son. Second, it was important to help Micah debrief his gap year on site – plumbing his heart for the things he wanted to take back with him to South Africa and for the things that it would be important to leave behind. And third, I wanted Micah and I to find a lion – in any form – every day of our trip.
Why is a lion so important to me?
Lions have come to represent a visual, concrete representation of my Lord Jesus Christ on earth.
In Revelation 5:5, we read:
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed….”
You see over the course of the past twenty-five years, when I see a lion I see, hear, feel, and know that my Savior is present in my life. He sees me. He hears me. He understands my heart. He knows my thoughts. And He is speaking words of love, affirmation, and support to me in each moment of discovery. He shows me the way to a triumphant, peace-centered, and love-filled way of life in Christ.
Do you understand what I am saying here?
I am on the hunt to find my Savior in my day. I’m not waiting to see Jesus in Heaven – I’m looking for Him now.
One of the Sons of Korah, a man on his own pilgrimage, sought the presence of the Lord many, many, many years ago, too. He was in exile. Far from home due to the rebellion of Absalom and his followers against Absalom’s father, King David, this son of Korah prayed:
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
New International Version, Psalm 42: 1 -2
For this Son of Korah, he knew where he wanted to be to enjoy and relish time with his God. He sought the tabernacle in Jerusalem where He could worship, sing and pray with his Lord. For this Son of Korah, the tabernacle served as a Divine symbol of the Presence of the Living Lord. His soul, his inner being, the seat of his emotion and appetite, where the activity of his mind, will, and character experienced the breath and life of his Lord and Savior most, hungered and thirsted for another personal, life-giving and life-sustaining experience with his God. This was a significant, meaningful place where the Son of Korah could ultimately find his rest and his peace.
Now, in exile, the Son of Korah wondered. He knew where he could meet with his God, but he had no idea when his exile from the tabernacle of God would end.
When shall I come and appear before God?
How long will it take?
When will it happen?
When can I go?
For this Son of Korah, he found no peace without the sustaining, restoring, preserving, loving, affirming, and life-giving Presence of the Living God.
He couldn’t live a real, personal, meaningful life without being in the sacred space of the tabernacle and enjoying the Presence of his God.
I can say that the same is true for me.
Granted, it may be difficult to fully capture the meaning and significance of a lion symbol, in terms of understanding the amazing, awesome God I know. It’s kind of a mystery, really. Yet, for some miraculous reason, the Lord met a personal need in my life with stone lion in Stuttgart, Germany. And from that time onward, the discovery of lions – no matter where I am in the world – meets me in a deep, satisfying, heart-filling, soul space.
It’s not a question of where will I find a lion – a picture of Jesus Christ. I know I will find one. The question to be asked is “When will I find a lion?”
So, for seven days in early July, Micah and I set off on our daily Brisbane adventures to have fun, explore and relish the sights, eat yummy food, make some memories and discover a lion.
And we did.
Every single day.
This was Micah Man’s first lion hunt.
As the week unfolded, Micah grew more and more confident that we would discover a lion each day. And as he beheld the different lions we found, Micah too, began to experience the refreshing, rejuvenating, life-giving power and presence of the Lord. Because Micah wasn’t just looking for lions, he was looking for his Savior to show Himself in a tangible way in Micah’s life – to be known, to be seen, to be loved.
We had a delightful time hunting for lions.
And now we are home.
We live in South Africa.
There are real lions here. When I want to, I can drive a short distance, and bask in the majesty, strength and beauty of these amazing animals.
And, as you can imagine, since we live in South Africa, there are every possible visual, symbolic, and concrete representations of lions that you can imagine here as well. Just as one example, there are two small lions on every Gauteng Province (the province where we live) license plate. I literally can see lions everywhere I go.
Thus, it would be easy to disregard and ignore them.
So, just as I shared earlier, it’s not a matter of where to find lions – it’s a matter of when.
And the same is true with giving attention to our Lord.
He’s everywhere, too.
In fact, His presence is a living presence – tangible, real, and ready for us.
We just need to be aware of Him.
We just need to seek Him out.
We just need to take time to be with Him.
We just need to ask, “When can I go and meet with God?”
When you see me next, if you haven’t heard my full, unabridged lion story of faith, ask me about it. In the meantime, you can hunt lions, too. And when you find one? What do you need to understand?
Your God sees you.
Your God is with you.
Your God loves you.
Your God is for you.
Your God knows your need.
And your God has been waiting for you.
Like I said, it’s not a matter of where – it’s only a matter of when.