A certain vulnerability

Here are two pics—both taken in South Africa two years ago. The first is one I snapped outside our deck where we watched animals such as zebras, warthogs, birds, and rhinos all come down to the small stream to get a drink. This giraffe is most vulnerable when he needs water because he has to bend the knee in two places to get low enough to drink the water. [He came in the heat of the day, (like the woman at the well) when it was safer for him, and most animals were napping.]

The other is a picture where I have never felt such an adrenaline flow or more vulnerable in my entire life. The lens is not zoomed in. The lioness is looking me straight in the eye, and my dear husband is making all kinds of noise snapping pictures of the whole event, at the time I presumed, to explain to his children how their mother died. I was horrified, but just after this shot, she turned away and went back to the zebra carcass she was guarding for her cubs.

I have often thought there is something profound spiritually in these two pictures. There is a certain vulnerability we must admit to as we bend our knees in prayer, and submit to the Lord’s guidance. We must admit that we have no power and cannot see what might be lurking just ahead or behind us. We simply trust Him, and in doing so, with faith, we please our Lord. We confess that He is our only Hope in the jungle of life. This prayer by Thomas Merton sums up a simple confession of vulnerability and surrender.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know if I do this, you will lead me through the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face peril alone. –Thomas Merton


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