...His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
Last Thursday there was a delightful respite from the cares of the office when Jerry and I joined Rep. Simpson and his family at an event held at the Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) Exotic Game Ranch. The weather was wonderful, the sun was still up ( a plus for those of us who have been working underground at the Capitol), and the tour of the animals was enlightening.
With thousands of animals on the ranch, it would be difficult to describe them all. But there were two very different species that caught my attention at the end of the tour. The contrast between them brings home a strong spiritual truth.
First, we met Rowdy. Rowdy is a 6,000 pound white rhinoceros. He came out of his enclosure when his name was called. That is about the extent of his desire to interact with humans. The rhinoceros, in the wild, is the “whats on the grill tonight” for crocodiles. Rowdy didn’t care that we were not a bus load of crocodiles. He snorted, kicked his back leg in the dirt like a bull ready to charge and generally double dog dared us to come any closer. We declined the offer.
Then we met Stretch and Spot. Stretch is a 14 foot tall reticulated giraffe and Spot is his nine month old pal. It is a little known fact, but giraffes have no natural predators. They are too tall to tangle with and they have the ability to kick 360 degrees around them. Nothing in its right mind would come near those hooves. But Stretch knows he has a natural protection. He is the most gentle animal you could imagine. We hand fed him carrots (the little baby ones) and he would gently take them out of our hands and crunch them. Even if you allowed your hand to go into his mouth with the carrot, he would not bite.
So, on the one hand, we have the 6,000 pound rhinoceros who you would think would be able to protect itself and then the long and lanky giraffe that you would think would be a sitting target (albeit a tall target). But, the one, knowing he had no predators was gentle.
And, so it is in life.
If you know that you sit in the palm of the Lord’s hand and trust that he is your shield, you can be as gentle as a lamb (or giraffe). The knowledge that you have no natural predators empowers you to view the world like Stretch, confident that you are safe.
On the other hand, those who are in constant fear of losing something . . . power, position, influence, money, . . . whatever, tend to act more like Rowdy. They figure there is a reason they weigh 6,000 pounds and dare you to cross their path.
I don’t recommend you take the dare, unless of course, you happen to be a giraffe.
Lord, thank you that you are our shield and our protector. Help us to walk in that knowledge with gentleness and mercy. Amen.