Her palms were filled with his short-haired, tawny coat. She desperately clung to him, to the point to where she could feel and see the fold she was making with his skin. Her fists swollen and white; her embrace was one part trust and two parts fear and uncertainty if she was honest with herself. How ideal it would be to accepts one’s frailty as a human and still boldly trust in oneself, therefore trusting and relying on Jesus. Perhaps, there is beauty and strength in one’s vulnerability, she thought.
Perhaps, vulnerability was the key to true strength and genuine endurance in life’s tribulations.
She knew she needed him daily, sometimes she thought, more than oxygen. More than sunrises and sunsets for He created such things for her to enjoy. What is the point of watching a sunset if you aren’t taken in by its allure? If you see the same thing, over, over and over again – does it lose its charm? If you see and experience the same blessings day after day, month after month, year after year, at what point do you become desensitized to it and everything becomes familiar? Do blessings fade?
It is part of being human to desire repetition and routine. And yes, we lose sight of what is in front of us, because we are rushing, scurrying around – seeking, searching, wanting more. It’s the way of the world, and it is broken.
“You are not of this world,” she whispered to herself. “But God, give me your eyes to see all that is for me, especially what is in front of me.”
Yes, she thought, the human condition is feeble, breakable even, but for those who truly seek Him with all they have – heart, mind and soul – the breakable become bendable only if He decides, the feeble become strong, the impossible become possible.
She could find Him in the Bible, daily, of course. She could find him in her mind, leaning on his large and powerful shoulder, picturing the tenderness and softness of his coat and mane, his warm blood flowing underneath his skin, the sounds of his lungs expanding and retracting. She could see it in her mind and it was as real to her as the air in her own lungs. She could see Him in a child’s smile, in such uncontrollable and infectious laughter. She could see Him in words of affirmation and assurance, in the way the human eye perceives sunlight. She could see him in the rain, as darkness and lighting comes in.
It was in times of sadness, uncertainty, anger and many other complex emotions that she struggled, like many, to see Him. Anxious thoughts why she felt the way she did sometimes, and why was she going through such dark seasons in her mind. But even with her lack of sight, her human frailty, she would never give up on herself or Him. For she knew, the only way to deal with something was to go through it. And on the other side of pain and suffering was healing and such joys that make it all worth it.
“I’m not giving up on you,” she cried. “You have taken me this far, you will not fail. You will not abandon me.”
She could find Him in her mind, and her heart but not quite in her soul – for that would mean she would have to trust herself. Not the self that is shaped and molded by outer influences, but the girl who was always there, but didn’t know how to come into the light anymore.
The girl who loves the smell of rain, and finds comfort in stretching her toes across tactile surfaces – mud, sand and plush carpets. A girl who dances with the moonlight guiding her, as she sings to the stars. To her, they are people in a giant auditorium with keen ears and joyous praise on their tongues.
A girl who refused to let scratched-up knees prevent her from extending her arm to reach the longest limb on one of the tallest trees in her yard. The girl who never flinched wiping sweat off her brow and dreamed in the sun with the wind as her friend. The girl who dared to be everything and yet only herself.
It was that girl that needed to come out of hiding and into His arms. But how? How could she be all and everything and yet only herself anymore. That girl was still there … but where? Tucked away somewhere safe and away from such complexities and hardships. She is sheltered. She is protected.
“But to truly be with Christ, I must surrender all of me. Even the girl,” she said to the lion’s shoulder.
“For when I doubt myself, and try to hide my dreams, now and those of the girl, I doubt you.” Her mind became blank. She released her grip from Him and took a step back from his side. He turned her face toward her. His amber eyes meet her blue; she could not look away. Her breathing slowed. She reached out to touch his shoulder again, only this time she did not grab a handful of his coat … instead she placed her palm on Him and searched for his heartbeat. She found it within seconds. It was steady and strong. She had turned away from his gaze and was staring at her hand and how the color of her skin stood out against the shades of brown and yellow fur.
“My heart beats to the rhythm of yours God,” she whispered, wondering if he could really hear her.
“My child,” a voice boomed. “You are mine, do not fear.”
She met his gaze again with tears in her eyes, aching to escape.
“You,” she said. “You are my hope. You are my savior, my father … Abba …” she wiped her eyes with her fingertips. “My God, my everything … help me.”
“I am here,” He said. “I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I am in you, my child … and you are in me.”
She shifted her eyes to her feet.
“I don’t always feel strong God,” she whispered. “I don’t always feel like I am enough … like I will always fall short.”
“You are enough,” He said. “You doubt your power. Look within, it is there. Do not be afraid of it, for that is where I am.”
“I am a lion, too, aren’t I?”
“Walk with me.”