Thursday, June 11, 2009


We recently took a family of ten to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. What an exciting adventure to experience with children, most of whom had never been to the zoo! The twelve of us packed into our motorhome and excitedly anticipated what we would see. Casting our votes, the primates won out as the favorite zoo animal for this group of Ringgold County folks! Consequently, we spent a fair amount of time watching gorillas.

Obviously disturbed by our presence, one adult gorilla seemed to hunt us down no matter how far we moved away from him. When he’d spot us, he would determinedly and swiftly lumber to where we were standing and slam himself into the window through which we were watching. We never determined why he so adamantly wanted us to go away! Relieved that the window separated us from him, we prayed that he wouldn’t break the glass and we’d quickly move along.

In another corner of the “cage”, however, we encountered a young gorilla who was more than welcoming. He especially had his eyes fixed on six-month old Barbara who was watching the gorillas’ activities from her daddy’s arms. With concentrated interest, the mesmerized young gorilla strolled toward the window where we were standing. Slowly and with purpose he tilted his head from one side and then to the other, closely examining Barbara’s face. Expressing his desire to touch her, he gently reached toward her and placed his hand on the glass. It was obvious that Barbara had captured his heart. The room was packed with “zoo goers” and those close enough to observe this interaction, motionlessly waited along with Barbara to see what the young gorilla would do next!

Barbara responded to the gorilla’s loving gesture with the most beautiful smile I have every seen. Moved by her acceptance, the young gorilla lifted his emotion-filled eyes nearer and kissed Barbara’s precious Down’s Syndrome face through the window! We couldn’t believe what we were witnessing and Barbara was thrilled!

I couldn’t help but consider the contrast between these two gorillas and to be reminded:

There is another who despises our presence. In anger, the devil advances toward God’s children, determined to destroy everything we were created to be. Desiring to steal away all the peace and joy that is ours, he repeatedly slams himself at us with all the power which he can muster, hoping we will cower in fear. Hating the assurance which we have in Jesus’ love, Satan points out our “shortcomings” with repeated degradations and belittling, attempting to cause us to question our worth.

Yet, as I observed the interaction between Barbara and the young gorilla, my mind immediately moved toward Jesus.

With His eyes fixed in concentrated interest,
Jesus passionately seeks out those whom He loves.
Desiring to know them intimately,
He purposefully moves toward them,
carefully examining everything about them.
Without overlooking physical, mental or emotional “weaknesses”, He recognizes and rejoices in their usefulness,
viewing them as a beautiful part of His perfect plan.

While fully consumed with the loving acceptance of the young gorilla, I had no concern for where the adversary was, what he was doing or when he might attack again. It just didn’t matter.


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