“What is all this?” I wondered aloud.
As Caleb and I walked through this new-to-us neighborhood, we saw one, and then another. One was hanging from a flagpole. Another draped over a bush.
We turned a corner.
There hanging from a tree, was yet, one more!
Caleb seemed nonplussed by our flag sightings.
The sunflower-yellow flags with the red, majestic, battle-ready lions stirred my grievous soul.
The past 20 months haven’t been easy for me. As I have shared in the past, I am all out of rhythm. My tried-and-true exercise routine that I had in South Africa is non-existent here. My no-sugar diet that I implemented in 2017 — shot to you-know-what. My spiritual rhythms? Ha! I’m steady and sure one day, and then???? I’m hit and miss – basically more miss than hit – these days. I’m frustrated.
Am I praying?
Am I seeking my God?
Am I still leading our kids in our family devotion time?
It’s just that I’m feeling ‘off.’ I’ve had this feeling for a while.
Maybe a pandemic, living outside our home for 15 months, moving continents without officially saying farewell, moving to a new state, integrating into a new ministry, living life in yet another culture, going pandemic gray and giving up the hair-colored life, and finding our way all over again are some of the reasons I’m just wondering who I am now.
What is happening to me?
And considering all that is going on in this world, why should I even put such feelings down into a blog post when I’m really not so important or significant. After all, the Delta Variant of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc. Haiti’s people are crushed and demoralized by yet another earthquake. I don’t even know what to say about Afghanistan other than I am so sorry about the decisions that have been made that will have devastating, life-altering consequences for years to come. My adopted homelands of South Africa and Zimbabwe are overwhelmed by unimaginable economic struggles. And that’s just a tiny bit of what is happening in the world…there’s so much pain, depravity, sorrow, poverty, and hopelessness. I am staggered by it all.
And then Caleb and I began exploring some new-to-us neighborhoods this week.
We discovered ten sunflower yellow flags with lions hanging about this neighborhood.
And my heart cheered.
Yes, I wondered what all of these flags meant.
But, I also remembered what discovering lions in my walk of life meant too.
Nearly 30 years ago, my God showed me a lion in Stuttgart, Germany on a city park walk just beyond the train station. The Stuttgart stone lion wasn’t very noteworthy in design or structure. However, even though it was laying, the lion was alert and strong in appearance. The lion was ready for action. It showed courage.
That stone lion gave me courage and resolve that day – when I really needed it.
And here I am today, amazingly enough, walking about this neighborhood, and finding lion after lion after lion once again.
God’s word promises me this:
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
New International Version, Psalm 73: 23-26
Even though my life isn’t what I want it be right now, and I feel out of sorts, and even as the world screams in pain and horror, God is still with me. Me!
He is my guide.
He is my counsel.
He is my desire.
He is the strength of my heart.
He is my portion – forever.
And He is present and at work in my jumbled-up life.
He just wanted to remind me by placing ten lion flags for me to discover in a neighborhood walk.
For the lion is a symbol of God’s present love, care, and victory in my life.
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.
New International Version, Revelation 5:5
I take this encouragement: My God is a personal God. He sees me. He knows me. He is reminding me of His presence – even in a life that isn’t so neat, so tidy, or so put together right now. The thing is He wants me to keep looking for Him, to keep acknowledging Him, to keep seeking Him, and to keep inviting Him into my life – no matter what it looks like, or how insignificant and unimportant it is, or how messed-up-and-not-to-my-liking, and no matter what else is happening in the world.
GOD cares about ME!
He put some lions out to remind me.
And, my dear friends, GOD cares about YOU, too!!!
I don’t know if you will relate to this blog post or not, but what I do know is that we matter to God – even as insignificant and unnoticeable as we think we are – we are actually significant and noticeable to our Father God, and our Savior, Comforter and Friend in Jesus.
Think of it, from birth to childhood to adolescence to young adulthood, to middle age and beyond, our God sees us, knows us, cares for us, helps us, and has us in His guiding, capable, blessed hands. He is our security and our home – today and forever.
So, my friends, take a look!
There may be a lion about – the Lion of Judah – ready to share something critically important with you – just you – today!
What is all this?
God is present in my life and in your life, too!
And keep looking for Jesus! He has triumphed in all of our lives!
You may be wondering what these flags are all about that Caleb and I found.
Here you go:
The flags that we are seeing is called The Lion Rampant Flag. It is considered to be the unofficial flag of Scotland or Royal Flag of Scotland. It is called The Lion Rampant Flag because the lion is rearing up with three of its claws outstretched in readiness for battle.
Why are they in the neighborhood?
It has something to do with a local, youth football league. And that’s all I know. 🙂