Hakuna Matata

Most of us have seen Disney’s The Lion King at some point in our lives.  I remember the first time I saw this movie, in the movie theatre in Alabama the night before it came out.  After an hour of watching the movie in silence, the sound finally got working and we started it from the beginning again.  I grew up watching the antics of Simba and Nala and listening to the music of Timon and Pumbaa. 

Last night, a group of us enjoyed watching Simba grow up once again.  We had fun watching the hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, laugh and cause mischief around Pride Rock.  As we were watching, I realized a couple of different things throughout the movie.  Little moments that spoke big words to me, and to children throughout the years. 

After Simba leads Nala into the Elephant Graveyard and encounters the trio of hyenas, he is saved by his father, Mufasa.  As they are walking home, Mufasa has a talk with his son.  As Simba approaches, his paw goes right into the paw print of Mufasa. 

How many times in life do we look at our fathers and mothers lives, the lives of those that have gone before us, and suddenly seem overwhelmed.  So many times there are huge expectations in life and we are afraid that we will never live up to these expectations.  We ask ourselves if we will ever live up to what people expect of us.  Will we be the people they expect us to be?  Will you be the pastor that everyone is expecting?  Will I be the leader that they say I am? 

We have a couple of options:  Do we embrace these expectations?  Do we run from them?  Do we look at them and ask God to show us which of these we are to embrace? 

As children of God, each of us have big shoes to fill. 

A couple of scenes later in the movie, Scar leads Simba down into the gully, where eventually he has his hyena henchmen lead a stampede of wildebeest right into Simba’s path.  In a moment of panic, we see fear in the eyes of this young lion. 

Each of us have been there.  Each of us has seen the stampede of chaos, destruction and, ultimately, death.  Each and every single person has felt that fear that paralyzes us for a matter of moments.  It’s in those seconds that we learn who we are. 

The world seems to stop.  Seconds turn to minutes and to hours, and somehow we can think clearly.  Deep inside of us, a small voice cries out “Run!”  We try to move, but fear has gripped us and will not let us move.  Do we run or do we panic and freeze. 

Fear allows us to run.  It allows us to find our will to live.  To find courage. 

When we are caught in the stampede of life, do we run? 

There is a point in the movie where Mufasa dives into the stampeding wildebeests to save Simba.  His act of courage saves Simba’s life, at the cost of his own.  His sacrifice is an example for us all.  Are we willing to go in after one of our loved ones when they get overwhelmed with life?  Even if that means giving everything we have. 

After Simba escapes the stampede, the hyenas and the thorn brushes, he encounters the unique duo of Timon and Pumbaa, and the three of them become a dynamic trio.  Their whole philosophy of life is ‘Hakuna Matata.’  It means ‘No Worries’ (OK, just listen to the song again). 

Timon sums up their philosophy is a few simple words:  “When the world turns its back on you, turn your back on the world.”

Where have you heard this before?  Step into a public high school and listen.  Go into the mall and eavesdrop on the youth.  Everywhere in society we find these words.   The youth embrace this theory on life.  We run away when life gets rough.  Instead of facing challenges, we run away. 

After the return of Nala in Simba’s life, he realizes that he has abandoned his family.  Instead of facing his responsibilities, he ran away from his worries.  It’s easier that way, even for us.  Until we have someone hit us over the head. 

In comes my favorite character, Rafiki.  The medicine / Voodoo / witch-doctor monkey.  He comes out directly and asks the question that everyone needs to hear:  “Who are you?” 

He leads Simba to refind his father.  Simba comes to a pool of water, looks in and sees a reflection of himself.  “Look closer.”  The reflection shimmer and in its place is the face of Mufasa.  We are the reflection of our father.  We are the reflection of God. 

As Simba is talking to the Mufasa in the sky, his father sais something that I believe God is trying to tell each and every one of us.  “You have forgotten who you are, so you have forgotten me.” 

We have forgotten that we are children of God.  Society has lied to us, telling us that our sins have condemned us to hell.  That nothing we can do can account for anything.  We are dead. 

Society is telling us the truth, but they are forgetting something very important:  The sacrifice of Jesus.  Because of this sacrifice, we are adopted children of God.  We should never forget this. 

Scar deceived Simba.  Satan has deceived us.  Scar convinced Simba that he was guilty of a sin that he never committed.  Satan has convinced us that we are still guilty, even after the blood of Christ has washed us clean. 

Each of us, like Simba, are rightful kings.  Let the words of Mufasa ring in your ears:  “Remember who you are.”

God Bless and PEACE

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