Snow covered the ground. A layer of white blanketing the trees and shrubs was all that lay before the lone figure silently walking through the forest. The solitary man picks his way through the wintery landscape longing for his destination. But time, distance, and obstacles slow his progress and make him wonder if safe arrival is even possible.
As he steps through a thicket into a clearing, he hears something up ahead. Senses alert, muscles tight, breathing barely under control, he slinks forward darting his eyes back and forth. There. Right ahead. On the far side of the short clearing, he sees it. Lion. A very large lion. And then, as in a cruel twist of irony: Crack! His foot snaps a branch hidden just beneath the snow. The beast jerks its head up. Their eyes lock. Now what?!
It’s the only logical thing to do to avoid a tragic end.
It’s crazy how life can feel like a prowling lion poised in our path just waiting for the chance to devour us. As if the lion itself isn’t formidable enough, traumas, unwise decisions, and circumstances we cannot control all seem to feed the beast to make it grow to the point that a gruesome end seems inevitable. Our natural reaction is to run. And who would blame us? I mean, facing lions is not high on anybody’s list of recommended activities.
And that’s where so many of our Warriors find themselves when they make their way to a Legacy Program. Life and circumstances, and trauma have grown to the point that it feels like they will consume the Warrior who once felt invincible. So, survival mode kicks in and the natural reaction is to turn and run. Run for your life.
There’s a little-known character in 2 Samuel 23:20-21 named Benaiah. He was, no doubt, a mighty warrior. In fact, he was one of David’s thirty mighty men: David’s inner circle of the most fierce and deadly warriors of all his army. Like many of our Warriors at Legacy Program, Benaiah comes from a long line of heroes. Verse 20 begins:
Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds.
He was a proven fighter:
He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab… And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so, he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear.
But what did Benaiah do when faced with his own lion? Did he turn and run? Or did he do the unthinkable?
He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day.
Attending a Legacy Program may not seem very heroic from the safety of our living rooms, but for those who are struggling because life has relentlessly beaten them down, it can be the scariest move they’ve ever made. Kind of like chasing a lion into a pit on a snowy day and engaging it in hand-to-hand combat.
Last week’s Warriors engaged in an epic battle with their pasts. They confronted the lions in their lives by locking arms with their Creator, jumping into the pit, facing their demons, and emerging victorious. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always pretty. And for at least one, it wasn’t until the Program was over and many were departing.
Instead of turning and running, these brave men moved off the ‘X’ and engaged in the most intense fight of their lives. Not content to remain victims, these men moved forward and into the light, into a life aligned with the one the Creator had planned for them all along.
And in the end, victory was achieved.
Lives were transformed.
Families were saved.
Legacies were restored.
And most importantly, God got all the glory!