Courage, Dear Heart

“What would you like to do this weekend?” was Iceman’s question.

“Something fun, preferably outside in the sun, if we get to see it!” was my reply.  It had been gray and rainy a few days too many.  

Saturday dawned beautifully! Blue sky, sunshine, crisp fall temperatures.  We decided to forego Saturday chores in favor of a walk to enjoy the perfect fall day.  We briefly entertained doing a trail at a park, but neither of us was excited about how muddy they must be after so much rain.  Iceman casually mentioned the zoo and I could feel myself light up. He noticed; it was settled. 

We had a fabulous time watching the bears, marveled at the 3 alligators basking in the sun like a pile of puppies, laughed at the giraffes.  As we approached the African Lions, I told Eric I had never been able to get a decent shot of them and wondered if my luck would change. 

When we rounded the corner, a scene straight out of Lion King presented itself! The male Lion was standing on a huge rock, head up, seemingly posing for all the world to see.  He was shockingly gorgeous!  But the angle just wasn’t right.  I spied an empty viewing area around on the other side.  Pointing, I announced that was where we needed to be and took off.   Eric was like, “Wait, what? He’s right here!” but he indulged me, nonetheless.  He’s great like that.  As I powerwalked us to the other side, I noted my usual luck was holding as the Lion got down from the rock just as we arrived. 

Then… could it be? He turned and slow-walked his way toward us.  He paused, stretched, dug his enormous claws into a wooden log, then laid down.

He calmly looked right at me.  

Whereas before he looked like Simba watching over the Pride Lands, now he looked like Aslan watching over me.  

“Courage, dear heart.”

– Aslan, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

I took several photos, then lowered my camera and just watched him watch me.  He was so majestic!  His measured gaze a little disconcerting, but also somehow reassuring.  (Yes, I know I possess buckets of empathy and imagination.)

Several minutes went by, then he calmly got up and circled back the way he had come.  On the way, he threw his head back and began roaring!  Wow!!!  Three exclamation points simply can’t do the feeling justice.  I had never heard a Lion roar in real life.  It’s amazing with a dash of warning!  Or maybe its warning with a dash of amazing.  Either way, it came across as sheer power!  His roar continued to rumble throughout the area as he walked from our sight. 

I might have done a little happy dance right there. 😊

Later that night as I was going through the photos, I noted how handsome he is, his pale eyes, his white beard, his beautiful mane.  More than that, I saw the strength in his body, his powerful paws, and his mesmerizing gaze.   When I first saw him, up on the rock, I thought of Simba.   Then when he laid down and gazed at me, I thought of Aslan.  But now, when I look at this picture, I think of Jesus.   Scripture describes Jesus as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. 

“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered.”

– The Revelation to St John 5:4 (ESV)

Just as Aslan says, “Courage, dear heart”, Jesus says, “Weep no more” for he has conquered sin, death, and the devil.  For you, and for me, for all who will believe in him have crossed over from death to life.

Sheer Grace with a huge helping of Mercy and Love!

I just might have to do a happy dance right here.😊

4 comments

  1. Jen you get better with each blog!  I really appreciate (and envy) your
    ability to share your faith in everything you see and do.  Maybe your
    Baptist upbringing?

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  2. Another wonderful post! Your heart is shown in the pictures and the post. Thank you for being you, genuine, and seeing the glory of creation in everything!

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  3. Thank you for the kind words, Keith! I took some time to think about and reflect upon your question. I think the answer to your question is a love of reading Scripture, a love of writing and photography, and a family who loves and encourages me to share what I see through the lens (of which you are one!). I hope my writings can provide a bit of encouragement or a ray of light to others in this tough world we sometimes find ourselves in.

    In the church of my childhood (Baptist), it was a Big Deal when you got your first bible and could carry it to church to read along with the Pastor and highlight verses! As I thought about your question, I realized It was there that a foundation of Scripture was first taught to me. Memory work was emphasized and encouraged- passages of Scripture as well as the the order of all 66 books. Even today, when I am looking for something like Habakkuk, that long ago memorized cadence runs through my mind and I know I’ll find Habakkuk between Nahum and Zephaniah and if I get to Malachi I have gone too far! 🙂

    In the church of my teenage and adult years (Lutheran), reading Scripture became more important to me because my faith became more important to me. The Lutheran liturgy and hymns I found so difficult as a teenager have become precious to me. Both have encouraged and reinforced the foundation I started with as a child.

    Perhaps the final answer is Jesus, though! He ordered my life and circumstances that brought me to his church, to Scripture reading, to the family he blessed me with, He also gave me a love of Bibles, of writing, of pens and paper.

    Speaking of which, I suspect Iceman wishes the Lord would also lead me to the answer of which pen is the Perfect Pen! My quest continues…

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