What would it be like to be alert in an instant, to rise from deep slumber in one quiet, quick move and to hold the gaze of what is before you? Today I met a lioness. My heart beat quicker, my movements slowed and I was in awe.
I recently finished listening to Lisa Bevere enlighten me in her book Lioness Arising and my interest in lionesses has awakened. In her brilliant way of teaching and preaching all in the same sentence, this insightful author described the role and the character of a lioness. Her vision from Numbers 23:24 brought her own interest to the light and she shared her knowledge with diligent research and great application.
In Numbers 23, a man of God, Balaam, was asked by Balak a king greatly threatened by the Israelites to curse them. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were blessed instead. Balaam recounts that God is with them and no evil would come upon them. Verse 24 declares “The people rise like a lioness.” As I have taken these words to heart in the past few weeks I have seen a change in my determination and my demeanor.
This morning, Camryn and I headed off to the Denver Zoo where I hoped to lay eyes on one, if not more, of the lionesses. When out, they are usually basking in the sunlight enjoying the usual 16 hours plus of sleep per day. After learning about these incredible female creatures, I quickly passed up the lions in search of the lionesses. Tucked in a smaller area was a slightly awake lioness. She was beautiful. She was a few feet from the glass, breathtaking in size and smoothness of fur.
Although there are so many who would prefer to see animals in their natural habitat, and I am no exception, the zoo displays God’s creation a bit closer and gives me a piece of heaven in my home town. Half forgetting my little peanut as she eagerly followed me, I spoke to the lioness. Something caught her eye and she was instantly alert. Thinking it was my little one, I picked Camryn up. Her eye caught mine and as I took a picture on my phone she sat up, then came to a full standing position.
Her eyes became piercing as she looked almost through me, maybe behind me, intently. Tears filled my eyes as I was overwhelmed. No one else was around to see my emotions. A little God moment just for me. I shivered and showed Cammie her big face, catching her glance again.
After working through this book on the role of the lionesses and the parallel to our role as women in the body of Christ followers, I had begun taking a stronger stand in my role at work. Last week I was intensely focused and spoke up for my team. My daughter went off to school, concerned she wasn’t as smart as the other girls. I went into alert mode, instructing her firmly her position in God’s family, our family and in herself. I went to my knees in prayer when I lost courage. By the end of this past week, I was weakened by comment someone meant as a compliment, being unsure if it was a good one. I became emotionally and physically tired and being alert seemed just too hard.
As I have been praying for renewal and discernment this week, the lioness arose. I am a visual learning and the confirmation from my Father in heaven came in the physical character of this lioness. She was just as beautiful, powerful and alert as I had envisioned after listening to Bevere’s book. This lioness’ held gaze connected my heart to the God who created me, the same God who has created her, for such wonderful things: to be beautiful, to be powerful and to be alert.
And so, sisters, be renewed today in your own beauty, your own power in the Spirit and alertness to what God is calling you to be. Whether it is nursing your baby, providing for your family or alerting your heart to a new calling, arise. Be like the lioness, for our Father is the Lion of Judah and we are his.