Perhaps the sweetest Aesop’s Fable I know involves a lion and a mouse.
As the story begins, the lion is sleeping in the forest when a little mouse unexpectedly encounters him. Trying to escape, she accidentally runs over his nose.
Roused from his nap, the lion angrily plans to kill the mouse.
The mouse begs for her life.
“Please let me go and someday I will repay you,” the little mouse says.
The lion is amused to think a mouse could help him, but he is generous and lets the tiny creature leave.
Some days later, the lion is stalking his prey when he is caught in a hunter’s net.
Unable to get free, the lion fills the jungle with his angry roaring.
The little mouse recognizes those roars and hurries to the lion.
Running to one of the great ropes that has that lion bound, the mouse gnaws on it until it splits apart and the lion is free.
“You laughed when I said I’d repay you,” says the mouse. “Now you see even a mouse can help a lion.”
What’s the moral of the story?
Maybe it pays to be kind?
Or never underestimate someone just because she’s smaller than you.
Or just because you got woke up from your nap doesn’t mean you have to take it out on everyone else.
But when it comes to lions, there’s no other story I love more than a true one that brought me wonderful comfort many years ago.
It happened when I heard my husband, Chuck, might be losing his job right before Christmas.
Our kids were young then and money was tight.
But new management was taking over the place where Chuck worked and he figured they’d probably lay off just about everyone.
Fear rose up in me like water on a sinking ship.
That’s when I prayed, “God, you’ve got to talk to me.”
I went into our bedroom and opened the Bible. I started looking for verses that would bring me some kind of peace, hope or comfort.
Then I came across the story of Daniel and the lions’ den.
Daniel is a young Hebrew taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
Throughout the years, he impresses top leaders who promote him to positions of authority.
So everything is great, right?
Daniel reaches a point where his Babylonian counterparts become very jealous.
So they conspire to get rid of him and trick the king into tossing Daniel into what surely will be his death in a den of lions.
With the lions.
In my imagination, I could almost picture myself with Daniel looking at those lions.
See that lion over there?
His name is Fear and he’s going to chew me up.
See that other one over there?
His name is Doubt and he’s going to rip me to shreds with his claws.
See still another one?
His name is Despair and he’ll finish off what the other two started.
But I had to read the rest of the story.
What happened next?
The king worries all night about Daniel. He likes the guy. He doesn’t want anything bad to happen to him.
So the next morning, the king hurries to the lion’s den and has it opened.
Still in one piece.
How did this happen?
“My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions,” Daniel tells the king, who is overjoyed and has the prophet pulled from the pit.
I love what I read next about Daniel.
“No wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
I guess Daniel wasn’t alone.
A thought hit me as I imagined myself standing before those lions of fear and doubt in that dark den.
Who shut the lions’ mouths?
Yep. It was God.
Then I prayed, “Lord, please shut the lions’ mouths!”
And the most amazing thing happened.
A feeling of peace flooded my soul — and remained.
My husband didn’t lose his job before Christmas.
He lost it afterward.
But he found another, then studied very hard and passed a test that paved the way for the job he had the rest of his life.
Chuck has been gone for 9 and-a-half years, but I still remember the lesson I learned.
It’s true that we may not live in ancient times, but we still face lions of some sort.
They can be big, threatening and scary.
Sometimes, we can feel as tiny as that fabled mouse in this jungle we call life or as weak as I felt so many years ago.
But our magnificent God, who created the universe, is bigger than any lion we face.
The Lord is our protector, provider and friend.
He is forever the one who keeps the lions in place and who brings great peace to our souls.