You may have seen some of our pictures from our South African trip recently. Among them was this beautiful male lion. Let me tell you about that day.
Since my wife has seen little of my home country, South Africa (since we reside in the USA), my family took her on a drive in a wildlife reserve. We saw many wild animals, including wild-buffalo, impala, kudu, giraffes, elephants, and more. But of course, the highlight of any trip is to see a lion, but it wouldn’t be easy. Finding the rest of the animals seemed easy, but our guide struggled to find the pride of lions. Driving up mountains, down mountains, through valleys, crossing rivers, the prospect of seeing one became bleaker by the minute. You can feel everyone giving an internal sigh at this prospect.
Then suddenly, the guide stopped and saw footprints. Everyone got excited as we found an impala looking in one direction very intently, almost like he’s keeping an eye on something. And from far away, we spot the lions laying on a mountain. They are really far away and getting there wouldn’t be easy. We started the journey up the mountain, and eventually arrive on the ridge. At this point is when Christina took the photo below of this male lion.
After everyone had a good long gaze at this beautiful lion, satisfied that we’ve finally found him, the guide starts the car. As he pulls forward, the wheels slip in mud, everyone gasps. Mind you, we are about 6 meters away from the lion at this point, no one is getting out to push without getting eaten. I remember at this point that the guide said earlier these lions haven’t eaten in days, and it’s almost dinner time for them again.
Just as my life starts flashing before my eyes, the car gets a grip and we head off. That was close!
In life, the natural desire of a man is to pursue something. The life of a man is often filled with always looking. We look for happiness, we look for fulfillment. Whether that is finding a job, a husband/wife, having children. “Will this make me feel better?” we think.
Not yet, and so we seek that next work promotion that will make life “next level”. We use the money to buy a bigger house or nicer car or fund a new distraction. But are all these pursuits vain? Of course, not all are! But they can be if it’s at the cost of what matters most. Ultimately, feeling somewhat depressed, we set our eyes on the prize – the lion. This is the ultimate thing in life that we believe will make us happy if we could have it, and it’s usually drastic. For some of us, it means something wholesome, such as selling your house and buying a boat to sail the seas, looking for adventure. For someone else, it means divorcing a wife. “She’s the problem”, we think, “I’ll finally be happy once I get rid of her.” Whatever it might be, at this point we enter what has become known as the “midlife crisis.” It’s the moment you realize that you’ve spent half your life pursuing something relentlessly to no avail.
But ultimately, if the lion that you’re pursuing in life is not God, it will end up devouring you.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
That man who went looking at sea was swallowed by the waves in a storm one night. That man who divorced his wife, thinking she was the issue, is now an alcoholic with no contact with his children. See, unless you find God, not even getting the best the world has to offer will satisfy you. It will in fact do the opposite.
So often, our eyes are on something. But that something isn’t God. And if these men would only shift their perspective towards their Creator, the only true lion, they will find their created purpose, and with it comes absolute happiness and fulfillment.
Don’t let the thing you want to see most, become the very thing that eats you. But do go look at lions in South Africa, they are amazing to see in their natural habitat! (And, jokes aside, it’s actually really safe!)