LIONS, TIGERS, AND GIRAFFES

Ro.8:20,21 – For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children.

My wife Parris and I recently went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about going to zoos. My feelings about zoos got more complicated a number of years ago when my family was able to go to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya while we were on a missions trip to Tanzania and Uganda. To see the African animals in their natural habitat kind of ruined going to zoos. The animals in the wild were alive and excited about life. When I went to zoos after that Africa trip it was never the same. The animals at the zoo seemed to be depressed and aware of their slavery, it just wasn’t the same.

That’s why my recent zoo excursion was so differently exciting. I knew something was up when we went to the lion exhibit. This lion, his name is Arnold, was very active wandering all over his enclosed area eyeing every person that came by. His eyes were intense and exciting, not like the sleepy, depressed lion I was accustomed to. It was as if Arnold was expecting his circumstances to change at any moment. He exhibited a wonderful display of anticipation.

Next we saw the giraffes. There were three males in the exhibit acting in very aggressive ways. They were slamming each other with their horns, swinging their necks at a high velocity. So much for the lazy animals at the zoo, something was up with these animals. Next we were at the elderly elephant area. Two females were entertaining us by climbing in and out of the water, spraying water in the dirt to make mud. Then they would spray themselves with mud. They were enjoying their daily mud bath. That’s when one of these girls let out a tremendous trumpet blast with her trunk. The animals seemed to be talking to us, or maybe the unseen One was speaking through His creation.

Then there was the tiger. He was going from roaring to swimming to attacking his barrel as if it was a prey of some sort. Finally we saw the jaguar, you know the one who made the news not long ago with his late night escapade and rampage as he killed multiple animals in other enclosures. He was ramped up, pacing, growling, and roaring. The animals were all speaking in concert.

What were they saying? Better yet, what is the Lord of creation saying? If you were paying attention you saw it in today’s verse. Creation itself is groaning in prophetic declaration about the coming kingdom and the releasing of the sons and daughters of God from the corruption of the fallen world. If the animals sense something then what about us?

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