Friday, May 24, 2013

Tigers and lions and bears.... oh my!

A few years back my family traveled to Orlando, Florida to visit a few of the Disney parks. I was reminded this morning of something that happened during our visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom as I read Isaiah 11 – particularly verses 6 – 9. I like the way The Message paraphrases these verses:

The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain.

Isaiah prophesied in this chapter about Jesus, the Messiah, who would establish a kingdom of peace and prosperity. In these verses we see that one day, the hunter and the hunted will eat from the same trough, graze in the same pasture and grow up with each other and humans. As parents we will not have to worry about our children getting too close to the cute little bear cub or tiger at the zoo. 

As I said, this passage of scripture reminded me of my family’s trip to Animal Kingdom…and here’s why. We had made our way to the tiger exhibit. There were 2 tigers lounging on the bank of the pond. Visitors to this exhibit were separated from the tigers by a glass enclosure to ensure everyone’s safety. My son, 5 at the time, looked through the window and turned back to us and said “I want to pet the pretty kitty.” To him the tiger was just a big cat. We told him that while the tiger was pretty he was not a just an ordinary house cat. He was a wild animal and for our safety we needed to keep our distance.

While we were talking to my son, one of the tigers must have been curious because he got up and made his way around to the glass area where we were standing. When my son turned back around and my husband and I looked up, the tiger was standing on his hind legs, his front paws on the concrete ledge just on the other side of the glass. [I wish I would have had my camera ready because we missed a really good shot… the tiger was perfectly centered in the window.] The tiger looked down at my son and started licking his lips. My husband commented “See why we have the glass separating us”? This ‘big kitty’ thinks you look like a pretty good afternoon snack.” At this, we all had a nice laugh but I think it made the point that in our world, wild animals see humans as a meal.

After reading through Isaiah chapter 11 this morning and then thinking back to our visit to Animal Kingdom I realized that one day, we won’t have to worry about being inside a glass enclosure. There will be a time coming when my son will be able to play with tigers and lions and bears (oh my!) without fear of being their lunch. When Christ comes to setup his kingdom, there will be everlasting peace.

Think about that for just a minute…how do you think everlasting peace will look? Can you imagine a world with no killing, no war, no famine, no poverty, no hunger, no abuse, no hatred, no racism, no distinction between the classes, no disease?

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