This week, I had a lesson in Lion Taming. Just before you think I have a lot more courage than you had given me credit for let me explain….
It was an image like this that I saw at a conference this week that really inspired me. The theme of the conference was leadership and the image was used in relation to the issues surrounding “trust”.
As our speaker observed it takes a lot of training, maybe many years of preparation before the lion tamer is in the position of being able to trust the lion enough to put his head in its mouth. However, all it takes is one quick snap (or snack) and the trust is lost – in the case of the lion tamer, for ever!
I wonder, who do you trust?
We live in days of heightened anxiety and one of the many effects of anxiety is that it undermines trust.
In days gone by, there were certain professions that seemed to inspire confidence and trust. However, I believe, that the world in which we live is rapidly losing trust in many of our professions and in many of our cherished institutions. The Psalmist said;
Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. (Psalm 146 vs. 3)
There has been much said about politicians on both sides of the pond in recent months. Now, the point of my blog is not to promote political debate but, it would seem to me, that many are using the weapon of fear at this present time. Fear raises anxiety and anxiety undermines trust.
Even those politicians with the best of motives will, inevitably, have to compromise and end up letting down some of those who have placed their trust and hopes in them.7
So, who can we trust?
The media isn’t exactly untarnished. The Internet and social media is not always reliable, the rise of “fake news” and the rumor mill this inspires are proof of this.
Our friends, perhaps, surely we can trust them? Experience shows that even our closest friends can let us down (they are human after all).
Now, you have already worked out where this is heading. I am a minister. So, of course, I am going to tell you that you can trust God. I may even trot out that well known verse Proverbs 3 vs. 5.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3 vs. 5)
The problem with this is that it can seem rather glib particularly at those times when God seems absent or hidden from our view. Can we really trust Him when He doesn’t appear to be present or He seems distant? Maybe, for you at this time, you can really identify with the Psalmist when he cries out
My God, my God why have you forsaken me (Psalm 22 vs. 1)
I take great encouragement that Jesus Himself quoted these words from the cross. But, as Jesus was to prove, the cross does not have the final word! It may be that God seems absent for you, at the moment, but as Carl Sagan said;
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
As John Ortberg observed, God is a lot closer than you realise or think. You are not abandoned,
Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Deut 31 vs. 6 Heb. 13 vs. 5)
In my times of struggling and wrestling, I have had to cling onto these words and CHOOSE to believe them whether I see the evidence or not.
So, the lesson I learnt about lion taming is a simple one, you only put you head in a lions mouth if you truly trust the lion. In case you are wondering, this wasn’t a practical lesson. There is no way I would put my head in a lions mouth – I ain’t that daft!
More importantly, who is it you really trust?