The question isn’t have you seen the lion king. It’s have you seen God in the Lion King?
Being a Disney loving kid, I grew up watching the Lion King. However, never had I really come to understand the truth of what this beautiful movie was about until last night. My old high school friend and I went to watch the new release on Friday night – the live-action LION KING. At the beginning of the movie she whispered to me, “this is quite a religious movie”. I laughed because she’d grown up going to Catholic schools but not practising in her faith and as far as I know she wasn’t too interested. Yet she was so right.
A Fathers Love
Well, I guess it all begins at the first scene – the circle of life. All the animals gathering together to catch a glimpse and share their excitement in honouring the new cub, Simba. Watching the first scene, I am filled in wonder as Disney magically captures animals of all diversity, all different walks of life coming together and leaving behind what they want to do to celebrate the new cub. Each animal is filled with joy in singing and dancing over a child!
As the story continues, Simba grows up and his Dad – Mufasa - is his best bud. Mufasa shows Simba the whole kingdom. He gently walks by his side passing on all he knows; teaching Simba about the balance in the world and the circle of life. Simba doesn’t understand, yet his Father kindly explains that one day “they will die, and become the dirt, then become the grass and the antelope will eat the grass.” He tells him all about the balance in the pride land. And just like God, he gives us everything! He shows you everything and patiently speaks what we need to hear. And like Mufasa, God knows what is best for us and gives Simba all he could ever want.
Except, like Simba, we aren’t content for the many riches Our Father gives us. Simba wants to go to the place of the Shadows, to prove he is enough; brave enough, strong enough – but what for? He is already enough in his father’s love.
I love this scene because it reminds me that God is so much greater than me. I am not just praying to a God that is the same size as me. I am speaking to a father; just like Simba does to his father. A Father who is so much bigger and beyond me! A Father I get to confide in and turn towards. I am embraced and loved as I am, no matter how many times I have lost my way. And even when I do, God finds me every single time.
A Great Sacrifice
As the times goes on, Simba soon forgets what it is that his Father has done for him and he gets lost in the idea again that he needs to prove himself. He finds himself in the gorge with Uncle Scar, who lies that he will be worthy when his roar will fill the whole gorge.
His Father comes to the rescue again. He comes and pushes all fears aside. And like Mufasa, God doesn’t just watch you struggling from the sidelines, he rushes in, he saves!
For Mufasa, this doesn’t end well. He’s carried away by the Wilder beast when he tries to reach his brother for help, Scar betrays him and throws him to his death.
When God sent His Son to the world he didn’t stand on the sidelines. Jesus made Himself a part of our lives, a part of our history. He sacrificed himself to save us, but even death could not hold him back. Christ’s resurrection is the perfect example to us of a new life, a new beginning with Jesus.
The Spirits Voice
Later we come to the scene where Rafiki, the wise monkey finds Simba at a time when he feels lost. Rafiki tells Simba to “look into the water” but Simba isn’t impressed when he just sees himself. It’s no wonder why he has a closed mind and barely looks. But when Rafiki urges, “look closer”, it’s then Simba sees his father.
Rafiki is that voice of the Spirit, coming at times of despair, times when your lost or scared or just needing something. Rafiki does what the Holy Spirit does, he guides you to the Father.
Perhaps this is you in your faith at the moment - you are feeling lost. You are seeking Jesus but you are only just looking then giving up. Listen, maybe the Spirit is saying to you, “Look closer”.
Simba had a call on his life, he had to return to Pride Rock to overcome the evil that had taken hold and save his kingdom.
We too have a call on our lives. Jesus has called us and it’s for a much greater than ourselves. Like Simba, we can’t get buried in our shame, running from our purpose. We must really listen to God, let Him speak his truth into our hearts. For the very best version of ourselves in Christ is needed. He is calling you today! Will you go?