Taming the Lions and Bears


By: Nancy Arrowood



This has been one of those weeks. As it has gone along, problems have mounted. Not all the problems are personal but include: church family, natural family, and in the lives of people I love very much.  Mine are enough but then add the others and… You get the picture!

Trying to apply “right” thinking I began to think about King David. He had a pretty cushy life up until he was anointed. Sure he had to deal with a bear and a lion. But they were one-day events.  For the most part he enjoyed nature, solitude, and music on the hillsides. That is UNTIL he was anointed.  After his anointing all hell broke loose.  What did he do to deserve to be hounded and chased like a wild animal?  What did he do to deserve to have to live in caves and forage for food?  From the anointing forward, I don't believe the bear and lion ever left his trail.  There was a huge price tag on being “the anointed of the Lord.”

Trials and hardships seem to be relentless with the calling of God.  Wearying.  I received an email this week from a dear pastor’s wife stating how tired she was of the battle. She said no matter how hard she worked the pressures never let up.  She related church equipment problems, vehicle problems and worst of all, people problems. Ministry work often seems to go from crisis to crisis with little rest in between. That kind of pressure wreaks havoc with our health. Many experience digestive problems, heart problems, and for me – a stroke.

Being a man after God’s heart didn’t buy David a one-way ticket to easy street. Quite the contrary! Yet, I don’t read about David resenting the calling. His psalms express his fears, his hurts, and his longings. But they don’t express anger with his calling. His words, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3) have helped me survive the mental pressures and panic attacks down through the years.  But at 62, I still have to grapple with stress and pressures.  I still have to take charge of my fears.  I had hoped the golden years would bring some relief.  Surprise!  I peak out the door.  Bear still there.

Lion still there.  Not just there but roaring and seeking to devour!

David describes his dilemma:  "Every day they wrest my words:  all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul." (Psalm 56:5-6)  

I want to ask him who “they” are. But I already know. “They” are bears and lions.

But David’s next words solace me. "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56: 8)

Do you see this warrior king crying? If this brave man of God could cry, why must I be so hard on myself?

However, in conclusion he says, "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for God is for me.  In God will I praise his word; in the Lord will I praise his word.  In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." (Psalm 56:9-11)

That's one of the things I believe God loved about David.  David never lost sight of his bootstraps and he pulled himself up time and time again.  I'm looking for my bootstraps too. While looking for a good handhold, I can’t help but notice a very clear path behind me. Off to each side are traps and snares, but those weapons against me did not prosper.  I see a trail of victories.

Aha, devil, that didn't work - nor that - nor that!  For greater is He that is in me, and for me, than any of your plots for my demise.  Today I might have to scurry some, or quickly dart into a cave, but my steps are ordered by the Lord and I REFUSE to live as if He has turned His back on me.  

Now, enough said about me.  My dearest heart's desire is an easier path than mine for those I love.  But like me, I know you too will have to fight for your faith.  You'll have to stare down your own giants, and most of the battles are fought right behind your eyes - in your mind.  My prayers are with you.  And, I should faint but for the knowing that God is on your side ALWAYS even to the ends of the earth.

I love you...but Jesus loves you more.  That's why I have peace of mind.  I can't tame the wild bears and ferocious lions, but the Lord has cages.  So before you settle on being tin instead of gold tried in the fire remember, when the Lord says enough is enough, those bears and lions will be crammed into the cages, teeth pulled, and toe nails removed. What a day that will be!

Nancy Arrowood assists her husband as pastor of Apostolic Tabernacle in Seymour, Indiana.  She is the author a devotional for ladies entitled, "Consider the Lilies."  She has two sons and their wives in the ministry, and four grandchildren. III John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."




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