A Trip to the Zoo

The monkey spotted something interesting. It jumped down and came over to the window to investigate. It moved its hand towards the window, trying to grab the food that was so enticingly being lifted to the mouth of my grandson on the other side. It stared for awhile. Almost like it was thinking, “How can I get that food?” Of course, the thinking was worthless because he could never get it. Not without some help from the zookeeper, which was about as unlikely as a 100 degree day in Alaska in January.

After awhile, he gave up and moved back from the window. Meanwhile the baby monkey’s antics entertained us. Trying to hang on to the rope as she grabbed bits of what looked like zucchini from the floor, she made us laugh. She was just like a toddler, learning to do all of the things her elders already knew how to do with ease.

On that same day, we had had the fascinating opportunity of watching a giraffe drink from the stream right in front of us. Have you ever seen that? It is an amazing feat of dexterity. She spread her front legs wide apart as she leaned her long neck down to take a drink. Then she’d lift her head high, seemingly to let the cool water flow down her long neck. And then back she’d go for more.

Of course, I just love flowers (which you probably already know!) and so I was not only interested in the animals but also in the many lovely flowers throughout the zoo. Especially gorgeous were the large camellia shrubs in full bloom. If you know anything about plants, you know that camellias thrive in warmer temperatures and are not normally found this far north. Apparently, there are some zone 6 varieties (which I need to hunt down. It’s one of my favorite flowers.)

The zoo is such a great place to be reminded of God’s awesome creation. How can one walk around a zoo without awe for our Creator? The variety, the colors, the incredible capabilities and designs, and the sheer beauty all literally shout that there is a Creator.

Some flat out deny that there is a God. The Bible has something to say about  these people–

The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1a)

We also know that all people know full well that there is a God, no matter what they say. In fact, the wonder of creation tells us–

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20)

But there are far more people who give lip service to believing in God that live like atheists. While they might talk about Him creating the animals or go to church on Sunday, their day to day life is lived without Him. They are practical atheists, living as if God doesn’t exist. Uninformed and indifferent to what the Bible says about how we should live; uninterested in pleasing God, they passionately follow their own hearts and desires.

Which brings us back to that monkey and the snack he couldn’t get. Living life for our own selfish gain and to fulfill our own self-focused dreams has us grasping at the air, trying to reach the impossible. And if the impossible happens and the zookeeper actually allows us to have that “snack” , it doesn’t satisfy. It never does. It just makes us long for something more. Something different. Something better.

The things we so long for in this world are so very temporal. Not only do they not last but they just can’t satisfy. Power, popularity, wealth, fame… they are fleeting and do not fulfill.

I often think of this when I see movie stars from my era. No one cares much about them anymore. They have become yesterday’s celebrities and most have sunk back into insignificance. When you read the stories of these stars, they are generally sad, sad tales filled with the consequences of compromise and sinful choices to “make it to the top.”

Even in this current day, I watch so many who claim Christ make deep compromises in order to be popular. Can they be happy?

Compare these to the godly 90 year old who led a simple life loving and serving the Lord without compromise who dies with the hope of life eternal.

Which of these lives actually brings more peace and joy? Which do you want to be?

It all starts with acknowledging the Creator. Recognizing that God created the world. And then understanding His plan for mankind, which can only be found in the Bible, and submitting ourselves to Him, repenting of our sin, and accepting His wonderful gift of salvation as we recognize the utter impossibility of being right with God without Jesus Christ.

His transforming love and power then change us. He makes us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17); He gives us the strength to serve Him abundantly (2 Cor 9:8); He gives us joy and peace (Romans 14:17); He guards us from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3); He guides us (Proverbs 3:5-6); He works all things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29); He promises us eternal life with Him that is far beyond anything we could even imagine (John 14:1-4; I Corinthians 2:9).

Really reflect on these abundant blessings that we receive upon our salvation. Is there anything in this world comparable to these? Do you really think that a few years of popularity or some money can even compare to these blessings? Why do we get so caught up in the temporal?

Even we genuine Christians can struggle with this. As I write this out, I realize how silly we must look to God with our mixed-up priorities–chasing after fame and fortune (or hobbies or entertainment or having control) when we have what is really important right in front of us, freely given the instant we are saved.

But we are human. And the age-old battle still rages within us. The desire to be popular, rich, to have control, to be engrossed in things that are irrelevant and unimportant–these idols die hard.

However, the more we are in the Word, the more we see these for what they are– snacks on the other side of the glass that are often unreachable and always unsatisfying.

Oh, may we have the wisdom to take delight in the eternal and abundant blessings that are ours if we belong to Jesus Christ as we appreciate the beauty of creation that surrounds us each and every day.

 

 

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