We’ve all seen it before on some nature program, a book or even in a movie. A sick or injured animal gets isolated by the predators and that’s the way nature is. As Biologists and naturalists well know, it is the way of nature.
But today, I saw a different story. I was watching a documentary called, “The River of No Return.” The narrator was astonished to see an injured elk, isolated on the top of a ridge by wolves, suddenly defended by another elk who proceeded to chase away the wolves – at the risk of her own life. The narrator didn’t hide his surprise and admitted what he had just seen went against everything he’d ever learned in biology.
Sometimes it seems like we’ve been injured and there is nothing left to do but submit to the ways of nature, find our dying ridge and wait for the inevitable. But today I learned that nature has compassion. There is reason to hope.
The disciplines of drills, scrimmages and tons of practice are things that can help your average high school football player into a real athlete. The disciplines of organization, study, research and preparation are things that can help any student become a valuable scholar. Disciplines. They are there to make us great!
So isn’t it ironic that one of the spiritual disciplines is submission? Who even likes that word anyway? For one, a wolf that wants to live. You take a wolf that doesn’t know its place in the pack and he’ll be either dead or kicked out. But a wolf that wants to stay in the pack approaches the alpha male with a form of submission, to show he knows who is boss. And for this submission the wolf gets all the benefits of the pack including food, warmth, protection and society.
The spiritual disciplines are there to make us great! Submission, or unresistant humble obedience, makes us great! God has amazing things planned for us and much more than just food, warmth, protection and society. When we come to God with that unresistant humble obedience, we get the “blessings of the pack.” But when we come thinking we know what is best, we are challenging God. He stands His ground. You can read about it in the book of Job. The last few chapters are when God says to the miserable Job: okay, you think you know all the answers, tell me, where is the snow kept? And it goes on and on.
God is merciful though. He doesn’t strike us dead. He lets us leave and calls out after us: the door, for now, is always open for unresistant humble obedience and I will even help you get that.
Submission, unresistant humble obedience, makes us great in God’s pack.