When my sons were young, we watched Disney’s The Lion King together. Their tender hearts and mine were impacted by the death of Mufasa. The impact of the death of a parent on a child’s life was dramatically portrayed in the children’s movie.
When I saw the movie for the first time, I shed a tear for the loss of Mufasa. But recently, I was in a Bible Study that showed a clip of the movie again – that directed our attention towards the loss of Simba. In losing his father, Simba loses himself, through his grief and the loss of his father, his sense of security.
You probably remember the story, Simba ran away from Pride Rock because he was running away from his own pain and loss of his father’s life to embrace “Hakuna Matata” – a life with no worries. Simba made the choice to “live small”–to hide his destiny of being the next rightful king—thinking his birthright wasn’t important, even critical, to the success and longevity to all the others in the Lion Pride. Did it serve anyone well for Simba to walk around in shame? Or to walk around saying “Hakuna Matata” and minimize that he was born as the heir to lead?
Simba’s choice to escape his painful reality put the entire Lion Pride at risk. He was abdicating his rightful place as the next king. Simba, a lion without a father, had forgotten who he was born to be. Mufasa, his father, appears to his son in a dream and says: “You are my son, and the one true king–You are more then what you have become.”
Our choices to live less than God created us to live, to self-medicate in various ways, to live in fear, anger or unforgiveness – have significant short-term and long-term consequences. We too can choose to live in fear and shame, hiding our painful experiences or regrets. God permits circumstances into our lives, intended to deepen our trust in Him or communion with Him – but we must cooperate with Him and not run from the pain! In hiding behind fear or shame or even comfort, we fail to attend to the realities of our lives and forget who and Whose we are.
God has created us in His image – to become more than what we have become; to be image-bearers of our Father. When people look at you, do they see a reflection of your Heavenly Father?
God is inviting us to our rightful place as daughters and sons of our Father God. Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, who remains forever faithful – is, in fact, The Real Lion King.
“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.” Psalm 146:6