In the North West province of South Africa, where many Orchard: Africa projects are run, there is a lion farm that I have visited a number of times. For those who wonder, a lion farm is exactly that – a farm where lions are bred. This particular farm is breeding the very rare white lion in order to create a wider and stronger genetic pool. I have had the great pleasure of holding lion cubs in my arms and feeding them with a baby bottle. The cutest experience ever! I have also had the more thrilling experience of being within a few feet of wild lions in the natural African bush and “cute” is definitely not the word that comes to mind.
At times wild lions behave just like domestic cats. They rub up against trees and make purring noises, they flop themselves lovingly all over each other, playfully catching each other’s tails. They yawn and stretch and you feel you could just reach out your hand and tickle their furry bellies. Of course if you did that you would likely not live to tell the tale. That’s because lions in the wild are just that – wild. They are fierce and unpredictable and altogether awesome. To hear a wild lion roar in the dark of the African bush is an awful thing. You feel vulnerability like never before. The correct response is fear.
When God is described, the words gentle, faithful, patient, savior and many such words so frequently come to mind. These are good words to ascribe to our God.
But, he is also wild and fierce and unpredictable. He is unrestrainable and uncontrollable and untamable. He is not domesticated; He is wild beyond our comprehension.
In His presence we are vulnerable to the absolute degree.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, speaking of Aslan the lion, Mr Beaver says, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
In the presence of God and King, we are vulnerable … but He is good. In Exodus it is said of the Israelites, “the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him.”
The correct response, no, the only response to this magnificent wildness, indescribable and full of glory is to fall on your knees and acknowledge “And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom.” (Job 28:28)
Here is a beautiful song that may help you see a glimpse of His glorious fierceness and His ultimate goodness.