This past Sunday during the worship service we began to sing the chorus to that beautiful hymn; “In the Presence of Jehovah”. Such an awe began to flood my soul as I immersed myself in the knowledge that in an instant, regardless of where I was or what my circumstances were; I could embrace myself with the sacred Presence of the King of Kings!
These times of stepping into Holy communion with the “lover of my soul” have become so precious to me.
I love the fact that I don’t have to “be in church” to attain this level of communion with the Lord. The only thing it requires is that I shut out the mundane distractions of daily living and focus my thoughts in silent meditation of the Lord’s intense love for me as His trusting child.
I remember a living lesson I experienced while we were missionaries in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Glyn and I had joined my parents and my younger brother and sister for a much-needed rest at the Wankie/Hwange National Game preserve. On this day, our two families had spent several hours making our way through the dusty game roads to Sinimatela Camp. This camp was perched high above a beautiful valley with a river wending its way through. The view from the camp’s vantage point was simply stunning. After we got settled in to our camp; Glyn, my brother and sister decided to go back game viewing in the late afternoon sunlight.
I chose to remain at camp, enjoy a cup of tea while sitting listening and watching the wild animals in the valley below. I began to drink in the scene below me and it was not very long before I was totally engrossed in the sight and sounds of the African bush.
A sense of reverence began to infuse my being as I watched God’s Hand of creation in all its beauty unfolding before my very eyes.
It was the time of day that a variety of animals cautiously made their way to the flowing river to quench their thirst before the cloak of darkness embraced the valley. A herd of elephant with several young babies arrived with mothers ensuring their young were close to their sides. I smiled as I watched the youngsters, cavorting and playing in the water under the watchful protection of the herd. It was such a serene scene filling me with a tangible peace.
Then without warning everything changed. The valley began to reverberate with the throaty roar of a male lion. With a sense of urgency, the animals melted into the deep bush along the river banks. The elephant herd began to trumpet a warning and quickly tucked the young babies in the center of the herd and the matriarch led the herd away from the impending danger. In a matter of minutes the valley was empty and then I saw the interlopers, stalking boldly to the river to satiate their thirst. The adult lion and his harem of lionesses were magnificent specimens of the power of tooth and claw!
Watching the lion pride claim its stake to the valley I began to muse how Daniel must have felt when his enemies threw him into a den of lions.
The scripture says:
Daniel 6:17 “And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.”
Imagine with me Daniel’s plight……
The last dusty shaft of sunlight was extinguished as a stone was muscled into place. Outside they were sealing the opening with signet rings, but Daniel would not have heard them even if they had all been shouting his name and blowing trumpets – his ears were tuned to another sound in the now darkened den. Behind him, maybe a little bit to the left, he heard the velvet rumble of a lion. There was another to his right, he was sure of it, and then he froze as he felt hot breath on his neck. There was movement all around him, but Daniel dared not move a muscle. He stayed in the same spot where they had dropped him. His head turned slowly toward every new sound, straining to see through the darkness, his mind reciting the simplest of prayers: “Oh God, oh God, help me God.”
He wanted to scream, but no sound escaped his open mouth. He heard a distant drumbeat and then recognized it as the racing of his own heart. He slowly rolled over onto his back – no response from the lions.
He pulled himself into a sitting position – once again no response from the lions.
Then it came like a sudden breath of wind ……. the realization that the lions weren’t coming for him!
God was shielding Daniel from being devoured by the hungry lions.
Daniel would live to proclaim his trust and faith in his God yet another day!
The lesson I carried in my heart from that hot African day; was the assurance that amidst the rumble and roar of adversity, God NEVER abandons His children.