This week I and a team from our church are serving at Naomi’s Village, a children’s home in Kenya, Africa. Yesterday our day began early as we headed out to enjoy a safari through wild Africa! We were able to see some of God’s amazing creativity. The first animals we saw were the zebra’s, a white rhino, and a herd of giraffes. As I looked at the white rhino with it’s oddly shaped head and giant horn protruding from its nose and then turned to see the giraffe with its crazy long neck and long legs that make it look like it could fall over at any moment, I thought these things look like something a child would come up with if asked to create an animal! Of course, that creativity is given to children by the creator who created each of us in his image and gave us a small dose of his unending creativity! Just a little bit later we encountered the animal that we all wanted to see, the magnificent lion! This lioness seemed to be on the hunt for food which made our encounter even more amazing. She was stalking some zebras and we watched with great anticipation as she went on the prowl. Her strength, her power, her rule over this territory was evident with every step. Had we not been sitting in the safety and protection of our vehicle, we would have easily been her prey.
Thinking about that fact and the fact that any one of the animals we encountered could have killed us reminded me of the reality of life. We were traveling in the safety of a safari vehicle, but all around us were the dangers of the world. If we were to exit the vehicle, we could be trampled by the herd of zebra’s, or kicked by the giraffe that seems so gentle, or charged by the rhino, and of course, devoured by the lion. These dangers don’t really seem like dangers to us, because we live in the safety of the vehicle, but the dangers would become very real to us if we were left outside. These are not domesticated animals that will run up to us to be petted!
This is a picture of life. We live in a broken world that is presently ruled by sin. That sin cannot be domesticated! We have all to often been tempted and believed that it isn’t that dangerous but it is. As Christians, we have received God’s grace and mercy so often that we can quickly believe that sin has no consequence, that it really won’t kill us. For many of us, who have grown up in the love and protection of a Christian home and church family, we have never seen the destruction sin can have on life. We’ve seen lions attack prey on a screen, but we’ve never seen the lion make a kill in real life where we can hear the cries of the victim, smell the blood and bile pour out, seen the teeth and claws covered in dirt and blood. It’s never been real to us. In the same way, many of us have not seen the effects of the sin that prowls around us except on a screen and we think it is surely something we could manage. Beware.
Of course, we don’t have to walk through life in constant fear as we would if we were roaming around the countryside of East Africa. We have been provided safe passage through this life. We have been given a vehicle to carry us through. This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We who have put on Christ have been set free from the bondage of sin (Gal 5:1). We do not have to become slaves to sin because we have a new master and Lord who cares for us. Remaining in the safari vehicle can seem like a hindrance, but when you are aware of the dangers you gladly submit to it. Our awareness of the sin that can so quickly entangle us (Heb 12:1) causes us to look to Jesus and rejoice in the kindness of his grace!
We ended our day sharing devotional time with the small boys and girls of the children’s home we are serving with. We sang the old hymn, I Surrender All. It is a joy to surrender our lives to Jesus who has secured safe passage for us. Let us cling to him and praise him for the knowledge that we will be delivered safely to our destination. Let us live lives that are surrendered.