Letters: Lions and Tigers and …

No bears…

I was in Switzerland the night before our group took a train to Paris, France. We had a wonderful time with the saints in Switzerland. As I lay in bed, I drifted off to sleep as I reminisced on what the Lord had shown us and what He was going to be showing us.

Then . . . I had a dream.

It was about a tiger. (Parental Discretion Advised)

Here’s the dream:

This huge tiger was running fast across a plain. I was at an elevated place in the dream so I was able to see where the tiger had run from and which direction it was running. I looked in front of the tiger’s path and saw something else moving quite quickly towards the same space.

A snake.

Except it wasn’t a serpentine, slithering snake. It was a snake that looked like it had swallowed an antelope and had a large bulge just past it’s mouth. Except it wasn’t a bulge. The snake’s entire body was huge, so it was more like a cylinder. This snake was speeding fast towards the same destination as the tiger.

Dust was being kicked up behind both parties. And then it happened.

They collided. A battle ensued. The snake and the tiger were going at it. Claws, fangs, and blood made up the cloud of dust that was now these two animals of prey.

Then the scene went black.

When I saw colors again, I saw another cat, an even bigger cat. This cat was walking on an enormous plain with the glow of the sun shining brightly, almost a dew on the ground that glistened with the rays of the sun reflecting.

The Big Cat came to a place of decision. There were many trees on this plain. The Big Cat looked around at the different trees. There was one particular tree that the Big Cat moved towards. It had many branches, yet only a few leaves, maybe ten.

The Big Cat decided to climb that tree. The Big Cat then reclined among the branches. The Big Cat looked at rest.

Lounging.

Content.

Full.

Then I woke up…

And we took a train to Paris, France.

When we get to Paris, we take the RER out to an area called Jablines. We stay with a wonderful family who took care of us like kings and queens! We take our luggage upstairs to the room we were going to be staying in for the week. We walk in the room and we see this:

This was one of the five pictures of tigers on the walls. There was also a 4 foot long stuffed animal tiger on a futon. The tail itself was over 2 feet long.

I was speechless. I had shared the dream with my wife and the others on the trip. We realized the Lord had something for our brothers and sisters in France.

The Interpretation … as I see it … Act 1, Scene 1

When tigers hunt for food, they are mostly solitary hunters. Hunting alone is a tough thing to do . . . isn’t it? Tigers are known for the ambush. They are known to hide in seclusion and wait to pounce on prey. They stalk their prey and when they get close, the tiger ambushes their prey.

There was a video back in 2004 or 2005 where it showed a guy on an elephant walking through tall grass looking for a tiger that had been menacing their village. As the video records, all of a sudden this gigantic tiger appears out of the tall grass. You didn’t even notice the tiger as it laid in wait.

Tigers ambush. Alone. If there is a chase, the prey is typically going to get away.

Then there is the snake…the cylindrical snake. Talking with a brother while we were taking a river boat tour, it came to me.

If you take a close look at this picture you’ll see the Eiffel Tower. If you look closer, you’ll notice a train. Long. Cylindrical.

I believe that as believers, we learn about hunting for “food” as tigers. We learn to ambush our prey in a short span of time. We launch in to our “food.” If there is a chase for the food, we typically lie in wait for the next bit of “food” that walks by.

This “snake” or train is representative of what the world tells us has value. Only in metropolitan cities are there trains. Only in places that are intricately connected to the world’s systems do we see the use of mass transport.

Can we tell those trains where to go? Of course not. There is a map set out to tell us where the train is going. If it is a northbound train and we want to get on, we better move it to get on that northbound train. Because it isn’t going to be at this stop for too long. But if we lie in wait, there will be another train that comes to take us to the destination we desire.

There is a battle that ensues when we look at the systems of this world to provide food for us. In our solitary hunt, we battle with the world’s systems and typically there is bloodshed. There are wounds. There is hurt.

And there is still a hunger that is deep inside us that longs to be fed.

The Interpretation … as I see it … Act 1, Scene 2

There is also the Big Cat. There are four “big cats” on the planet. The tiger is one. There is also the jaguar and the leopard. However, there is one Big Cat that has huge implications in this dream…

The Lion.

This Big Cat is One Who hunts in groups. Lions don’t typically hunt alone. Their ways of hunting and feeding tends to be a corporate, social affair. They hunt in prides. This says a lot about the Body of Christ. One of the most important things I have learned in my spiritual journey recently is that it is not my journey. It is our journey! When we hunt for “food” together and feed together, we grow together.

And to see this Big Cat walk up to a place that had a few trees, I see this as an opportunity to eat of the Tree of Life. When we approach the Tree of Life, we are in a place of rest, of lounging, of contentment, a place of fulfillment. We are able to rest in peace.

This Tree only had about 10 leaves, but I knew there was growth happening. I knew there was a new season coming. And for this interpretation, there is a new season of growth and leaves of healing and fruit coming. We rest in this Tree of Life, the Tree will provide the fruit that gives Life to others.

The Interpretation … as I see it … Act 2, Scene 1

This dream was given to the saints in France. However, I believe there are implications for all of us who look to consume Christ as food for our Body with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

I believe that we will have many battles with the worldly systems as we hunt alone. Sure, tigers are the largest cat on the planet. Tigers are also known for other characteristics:

Oliver Goldsmith ranked the lion first among carnivorous mammals, followed by the tiger, which in his view “…seems to partake of all the noxious qualities of the lion, without sharing any of his good ones. To pride, courage, and strength, the lion joins greatness, clemency, and generosity; but the tiger is fierce without provocation, and cruel without necessity.”

This assessment of the tiger from Oliver Goldsmith reminds me of my past religious experiences. His assessment of the lion reminds me of my current journey in Christ.

There is also a wonderful book by Mary Rodriguez that talks about the journey of a caged lion versus a wild lion. It is called Return to the Wild: An Allegory of the Journey from Institutional to Organic Church.

We are able to rest in Christ, the Tree of Life. He will provide the growth needed to produce the fruit needed. All we do is function as part of His Pride. We hunt together. We feast together. We rest.

The Interpretation … as I see it … Act 2, Scene …

Together.

2 comments

  1. Trevor Honeycutt · October 4, 2012

    That’s good stuff Mark. The tiger and the train also remind me of the orphan-heart that we have before we realize that we have a Father. Pouncing and scrounging through the streets for food.

    While the majestic Lion and His pride enjoy community, shared hunting, and family life.

  2. Pingback: September Pivot :: Letters « marklchampion

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