Title: The Roaring Lion And The Wizard Of Oz
Date: May 17, 2022
There was a time decades ago when I patiently waited for a promise I was given from 1 Peter. It was not one of my prouder seasons, as I ashamedly succumbed to severe anxiety. I blamed my lack of faith, and yet in some strange way it was that faithlessness that made me so much stronger. I suppose I should look back with gratitude for that difficult season!
As the book of James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance!”
But let’s take a look at my few promised verses from 1 Peter 5:6-8:
Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert, for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
If you have ever experienced the perils of anxiety, maybe you would agree: I am one thousand percent convinced there’s nothing quite as humbling as the distress of those emotions. Pride does in fact always come before the fall! Obviously, the apostle Peter thought the same! Hmmm…maybe that is the key to overcoming! I know for myself that when I begin to worry and try to control my circumstances, that’s when trouble is waiting. That’s when anxiety can creep in. In order to truly humble myself before my king, I must truly and humbly relinquish ALL my control. And that means worry must go! Do you see the promise that comes once we’ve done this? God’s mighty hand will lift us up in due time! That’s what I held onto years ago, and that is what I will hold on to today! He has delivered me once; he will deliver me again!
Ironically I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to include these verses in today’s post sometime last week, and wouldn’t you know it but my pastor touched upon these words in Sunday’s message? He actually brought up a point I never picked up on before, and once again God’s word comes alive! There is always something new to learn! Do you see where the word says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion?” The word emphasizes here that he isn’t a “roaring lion,” he is LIKE a roaring lion! His roar may seem really loud, but remember he is a master deceiver and disguiser!
I ask myself if Satan’s roar has become louder than God’s sweet whisper these days. The satanic roar can be so distracting. Is the reason for my anxiety that I am putting trust in the roar rather than the whisper? What is my ear inclined to listen to these days? Stress understandably can come from our circumstances; however, anxiety is often my reaction to those circumstances. Those are two completely different things. And once again I realize the loud roar is calling for my attention.
As a child I remember being so excited to watch the annual televising of the famous movie “The Wizard of Oz.” It was one of those childhood memories that has stayed with me for a lifetime.
As fascinating as it was frightening, I could not take my eyes off our television. I can recall the first time I heard the strong, deep and commanding voice of the Wizard. I was so relieved Dorothy and her friends finally made it to the Emerald City, until Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal that the Wizard was not who everyone thought he was. To my astonishment there sat an old gray-haired man operating a bunch of controls behind a green curtain!
When I heard my pastor describe Satan to be much like the Wizard, it really took away the lion’s ferocious roar! That actually comforts me. I am sick of giving his lies any life! I’m tired of giving him the remotest credit for anything in my life! He may be prowling around, but God will not allow him to catch me or ever snatch me out of the palm of my Maker’s hand! That’s God’s final word…not mine!
The truth is that Satan creates a lot of noise, and his deep commanding voice can fill our minds with lies, doubts and fears. But in essence he is nothing more than another version of the Wizard! If we were not God’s children there might be room to fear him and his destruction, however we must remember who we belong to! We belong to the sweet Lamb of God, and His gentle whisper can crush the ferocious roar of Satan!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
So what is calling out to you today? Does it know your weaknesses? Is it pushing just the right buttons? What voices are you allowing in? Who is currently controlling you behind the curtain? Is it the voice of pain or the lie of worry? Is it commanding you to listen? Is it paralyzing you from within? If you are entangled in the web of anxiety, perhaps like myself you have not only been mistaken and listened to the lies, but have literally buckled underneath false indictments! Thank God the Spirit of Truth reels us back in. Praise God that we know who wins! And without condemnation and with no judgment for being weak, He sends us a blessing instead: a deepened faith and a bit of renewed perseverance! And once again we have another chance to experience His closeness! What an amazing Father we serve!
So when that lion roars to try to claim territory, we can confidently shut its jaws when we stand firm and believe God will lift us up in due time…. Because we are HIS!
Delighting in safe pasture,