This week has been a tough week for me as a parent because of the horrific news of the ongoing violence in Aleppo Syria and domestic violence within families here in the United States. There are many more examples of violence and abuse but the two stories that caught my attention this week were especially poignant. The first is a little boy who was pulled out of his home after it has been bombed in Aleppo, Syria. His family survived but the video of the little boy sitting alone in the emergency vehicle just breaks my heart. You can see that he is in shock, as his expression never changes. The only movement is his hand reaching up to rub his eye and when he does he encounters the blood on his face. He then looks at his hand and sees the blood, which he tries to rub the blood off his hand onto the seat underneath him. He doesn’t cry out in pain or in fear, he just sits looking at the chaos going on around him. His face will haunt me for a long time.
With these two particular stories on my mind, I watched a video clip from the French 1988 movie called, “The Bear,” which came across my Facebook wall. It is a short video that shows a mountain lion watching a bear cub frolicking below him on the grass and thus begins the chase. I guess the lion thought the bear would make a nice dinner so he began to pursue the cub intently. The bear recognizes that he is being stalked and begins to run, fast! He climbs a branch that overhangs the water and as the lion edges closer, the branch breaks and the bear falls into the water below. This new development does not hinder the lion as he continues to follow the bear from the waters edge until the bear floats close enough to almost be grabbed by the lion. The little guy quickly gets off the log into the water and swims to the shore. The lion follows him and the cub knows that he will have to defend himself right where his is at. He is out of options so he rises up on his hind legs to his full height, and starts to growl in his best voice to try to scare the lion. While I think it was adorable to watch the little guy try to impress the lion with his strength and courage, it didn’t work because the lion was not deterred and edged closer and closer. Suddenly the growling lion stops his pursuit of the chub and turns away from the little bear and leaves. The camera turns from the lion to show the little bear continuing his fierce pose until the viewer gets a view of what is behind him. There is the very large grizzly bear standing at a distance behind him in the same upright pose. The little bear did not intimidate the lion but he did respect the giant bear standing behind the cub. The little bear is then reunited with his protector and everything ends happy for the viewer.
The video is amazing to watch and I admire the team that filmed it with their ability to capture all of the footage to make this 4-minute video so meaningful. As I watched the giant grizzly bear revealed behind the little bear, my first thought was that the lion should go pick on somebody his own size and leave the little bear alone. He was being a bully, however that is what nature is all about isn’t it, the survival of the fittest? I love to watch the National Geographic channel especially during “Big Cat Week” as we get to see the big cats in their natural habitat. They are so proud and fierce and of course deadly. There are parts of those shows that I cannot watch because of the graphic pictures of a hunt and kill by a pack of lions. I much prefer watching the playtime of the lion and tiger cubs as they entertain themselves when their moms are either hunting or sleeping. They get into mischief and have to be rescued or get scolded by the adults who break up the fights with their siblings. Does that sound familiar, fights with siblings or getting into mischief being scolded by the adults? Sure does for me.
What I find to be consistent in the animal world and in the human world, parents especially moms are very protective of their young. I have watched a female lion protect her cubs to her death. I believe it is the way we are wired to protect our young and helpless. The grizzly heard the cries of the little cub and came to his rescue and sent the lion home without his dinner. According to the story, the little cub was orphaned and had no protector until the grizzly stood up for him. Once that part of the story was revealed, I was doubly glad the cub escaped the fangs of the lion. Most often we want the underdog to win. We love the Bible stories like David and Goliath that shows a young shepherd boy taking on and beating a military giant with his faith and a slingshot. As Christians, we picture a mighty and powerful God that stands behind us just like the grizzly bear, fighting our battles for us.
After reading the stories about the little boy from Aleppo and little girl from Arkansas, I want that mighty and powerful God to stand behind these children and fight off the bullies that hurt them. Both were hurt in the safety of their homes. The first boy was with his family doing what families do and a bomb struck his house without any reason other than their country is in the middle of a civil war. It was just destroyed. His family survived but their lives will be changed forever. The little girl, from Arkansas, was also in her home, a place that is supposed to be safe with people who love her. Obviously that was not the case as she has scars and fresh wounds that show of her injuries but no one can see the injury done to her mind and heart. So yes I want the mighty warrior God but I also want Jesus, who says, "Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14). This is the same Jesus who wept when his friend Lazarus died. I need this Jesus in times like this! These children and so many others need a Jesus who will defend them, like the grizzly bear but will also love and comfort them when evil happens. I am sorry that there are so many vulnerable people who are living with so much suffering. It breaks my heart, which shows me how important it is to courageously defend those who are living in fear and violence. It is our Christian duty to follow Micah 6:8. “The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands:“ See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.”
May I be so bold!