Our family was privileged to visit a tiger petting zoo during our recent vacation to Thailand. Surrounded by dense jungle foliage, this tiger reserve was rescuing and breeding tigers, helping to replenish their dwindling numbers. Dozens of veterinarians and trained professionals attended to the health needs of these magnificent animals, even bringing us to see a newly born tiger cub. We were excited to visit but understandably fearful of meeting these fearsome predators.
Unfortunately, a day earlier, I had severely sprained my right ankle and threw out my back, attempting to maintain balance. As a result, I hobbled around with a stiff gait, grimacing in pain with every step I took. It was amusing to our tour guide until he spoke to the tiger trainer at the zoo who looked at me with grave concern.
“You will not be able to visit with the largest tigers, only the small younger ones.”
I was disappointed and protested. “Why not?”
“If the tiger sees you like this, it knows you are injured and may attack you. The tiger knows.”
The comforting and welcoming surroundings where the tigers lived belied their true nature. Tigers are not domesticated pets. They are born hunters and will take advantage of any situation that presents them with an easy meal. I had a target on my back.
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Luke 4:13 (ESV)
The trainer was hesitant to allow me to visit with the largest tiger because it may sense my weakness. Satan knows all of my weaknesses and will always exploit them to gain an advantage on me, seeking to devour my soul. There are no smaller Satans or lesser demons that I may choose to confront, Satan controls all of his evil denizens and like confronting the tiger, I would be a fool to think I can stand up to him with my own strength. Only by placing my trust and faith in the only Man who ever successfully stood up and resisted Satan’s temptations and beguilings, will I be able to succeed. Jesus Christ lived a perfect sinless life on this earth, fulfilling God’s plan for His life that led to His death on the Cross and resurrection three days later. Throughout His life, Satan was there, attempting to place doubt in His mind, feeding Him false information and encouraging His closest followers to deny and betray Him. This verse from the Gospel of Luke reminds us that even after Jesus successfully withstood Satan’s temptations in the wilderness after forty days of fasting, he would return, seeking another opportune time to attack.
Like these mighty tigers of Thailand, Satan prowls like a roaring lion, ready to pounce upon me (1 Peter 5:8). Satan knows my weaknesses far better than these tigers. But my Savior, Jesus Christ, knows me far better than I know myself, and it is only by His strength that I will be able to withstand any temptation to sin.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.