Yesterday during our family's trip to the zoo we encountered this rather large tiger.
My five year old daughter was quite nervous and would not stand next to the glass by herself. It occurred to me that although we were only a few feet from the massive animal, I was completely unconcerned for our safety. This was obviously because of the secure facility which housed the great beast.
I could not help but ponder the parallel; our lives are lived in close proximity to the treacherous enemy of our souls. 1Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Our God is our shield, our defender, and our fortress. Though daily we walk in the midst of predators we need not tremble for them. Romans 8:31b If God is for us, who can be against us?
Psalm 23:4-5 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Certainly this life affords us various experiences of suffering and trials. This is why the Psalmist uses the phrase, "the valley of the shadow of death." What a solid foundation we have in God's sovereignty over suffering. We can say with the Psalmist, "I will fear no evil, for you are with me." If He is with us, what have we to fear? There will be troubles, there will be trials, there will be dining in the presence of enemies... But He is with us. And our God is the One who can make ALL things, including suffering and tragedies, work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).
I love how John Piper puts it in his poem about Job:
The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God
I have some friends who thought they knew
The mind of God, and that their view
Of tenderness exhausted God's,
And that severity and rods
Could only be explained with blame,
To vindicate his holy name."
"So you think it was God who made
You sick?" "I think God never laid
Aside the reins that lie against
The neck of Satan, nor unfenced
His pen to run at liberty,
But only by the Lord's decree."
That he might kindly show to me
What I would be when only he
Remains in my calamity.
Unkindly he has kindly shown
That he was not my hope alone."
And finally, my servant, Job,
Can you draw down and then disrobe
Leviathan, the king of all
The sons of pride, and in his fall
Strip off his camouflage of strength,
And make him, over all the length
Of earth and heav'n, to serve the plan
Of humble righteousness? I can.
I make Leviathan my rod.
Belovèd Job, behold your God!"