You may recognize the title of today’s message as a play on the words from one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions were confronted with many dangers on the road to Oz; at one point they cried out in fear, “Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!”
We Christians face many dangers on the road to our heavenly destination, but unlike the characters in Dorothy’s dream, the Gospel empowers us to cry, “Lions and tigers and bears, Amen!” We will walk “through many dangers, toils, and snares” on this side of the grave, but the Christian is empowered to cry “Amen” instead of “O my!” for two important reasons: the promise of the dangers and the power in the dangers.
THE PROMISE OF THEM
The first thing every Christian must remember is that we have been promised to encounter a lifetime of lions, tigers, and bears. We should not be surprised by the dangers and difficulties that beset us, because we live in a fallen and broken world as fallen broken people. If our Lord received a crown of thorns for His head, should we expect to receive a crown of glory for ours? He was betrayed; we will be betrayed. He was falsely accused; we will be falsely accused. He was slandered; we will be slandered. He was abandoned; we will be abandoned. He was mocked; we will be mocked. The Bible never promised us a walk in the park!
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. (John 16:33)
It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
We should not be surprised by the many lions, tigers, and bears we face on a daily basis because we have been promised them in Scripture. The Christian faith is forged in the fiery trials of life. We need not fear them nor flee them because of . . .
THE POWER IN THEM
Once we understand the promise of life’s challenges, we need to rest in the power to face them. We do not face our problems, challenges, and difficulties alone and we do not fight them in our own strength. Our power is in the person of Jesus Christ.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
So . . . what lions, tigers, and bears have you been facing lately? Have you been surprised by the number of them or their ferocity? Faith in the focus of our faith (Jesus Christ) will help us overcome our fear of every opposition to our faith. Because God has ordained all things (Romans 11:36), no matter what storms beset us, we can rest in Him. He is not only with us in the storm, He sent the storm for two important reasons: for His glory and our good.
By the way, when Jesus warned, “In the world you will have tribulation,” He didn’t stop there! He added, “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). That is a promise that equips us to move from “Oh my!” to “Amen!” . . . no matter how fierce the trials facing us!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!