Playing with Tigers

 

Some of the most outlandish theories have been proposed to explain why that beautiful white tiger lunged at Roy Horn the way it did and mauled him around like a rag doll that night. 

It's been several years now, but I'm sure most of you remember reading about it in the news. It happened in October of 2003—it was quite a shocking incident. 

The famous illusionist of the Siegfried and Roy Show, in Las Vegas, had been doing this kind of thing for 35 years; mastering tigers and making them yield! Hundreds of times, he had posed on the stage with a 600-lb. tiger at his side, just as tame as a kitten and with never an incident. 

And then, on that October night, wham! One of them snapped. An audience of 1500 people watched aghast as the animal grabbed Roy by the neck, shook him around and dragged him off the stage like ordinary prey!

And everybody wanted to know why. 

I personally think the better question is: "why not?" 

But, of course, our gullible 21st Century generation had to come up with 'theories' of their own. 

Some people blamed the bright lights; in spite of the fact that those very same lights had illuminated that stage for decades already. 

Others argued that the audience was noisy. 

Some blamed it on a flash attachment. 

Then, of course, you always have the animal worshippers—the PETA donors—who insisted that the noble creature was only trying to "protect Roy from the noisy crowd" that night. Gotta love that one! What a crew!

Several days after the incident, Siegfried Fishbach showed up on Larry King Live to offer a more credible explanation: 

"Roy slipped", he told his host. 

That evening, just as he had always done hundreds of times before, Roy appeared in the spotlight with his pet. But this time, for some reason, Roy lost his footing during one of the maneuvers. He stumbled slightly and startled the tiger...

...and the tiger lunged! And that's all it took! 

Isn't it shocking? One momentary "slip" and an entire career was finished; and almost a life! Wow! 

You know, normally a little slip here and there, a little stumble now and then, doesn't have to prove so fatal in life. Unless, of course, you're playing with tigers!

The Bible talks about a tiger called "Temptation" and the dangers of playing around with it. 

I sure have counseled my share of people who have "slipped" and caused the "tiger" to lunge! Most of the time, the consequences are tragic: a career is destroyed, a marriage is ruined, an entire family is ravaged in the end.   

Be careful dear Christian, when it comes to "temptations". Don't think for a moment they can ever be "tamed". Stop kidding yourself that one "slip" doesn't matter! 

When it comes to temptations, God's Word offers one simple, stern command: "Flee!" 

"Flee from sexual immorality," we are told. 1 Cor 6:18 Just a few chapters later: "Flee from idolatry". 1 Cor 10:18 (Talk about a tiger in your home, by the way; and that absolutely does include Yoga). 

Teenagers are warned to "flee the lusts of youth." 2 Tim 2:22 Paul points out to young Timothy a whole "pride" of temptations that are ready to "lunge": "But you, man of God, flee from all this." 1 Tim 6:11

When tigers are present, do you know where to flee to? Do you know where the safest place is? Right in the arms of your Savior, dear ones! Begin every morning with a commitment to Him and you'll deal with the tigers well enough!

I love the story Bryan Chapell tells about a shocking thing that happened to his own kids one-time several years back. He writes about it in his book Holiness by Grace. His wife, Kathy and a neighbor took their kids to the St. Louis Zoo, one morning, where there was a new attraction called "Big Cat Country". One feature of this part of the zoo was that the lions and tigers could roam freely in an area that looked more like their native habitat. Visitors could observe the cats from walkways up above. 

But as they were taking the escalator up to the place, the two boys—aged 3 and 5— ran ahead of the moms, and by the time the moms arrived, they looked over and saw that both of them had climbed through the bars and were standing on boulders that were inside the enclosure! "Hey, mom! We can see 'em real good from here!" were the bone-chilling words that those poor mothers heard. 

The tigers were twenty-five feet away. They could be on those rocks in less than a second! 

The boys had no idea what danger they were in. But Kathy did! She saw it immediately and—God bless her!—she also knew exactly what not to do too! The gap in the bars was too small for her to get through. If she screamed or cried out and startled the boys—got them acting scared—the tigers would lunge! 

It was an absolutely petrifying moment!

But Kathy did the best thing of all! She knelt down, spread out her arms and calmly said: "Boys, come get a hug." The boys cheerfully climbed off the rocks, crawled through the bars and ran for the love that would save them from a danger far greater than they could ever perceive!

I love what Chapell writes of this: 

"With similar love, our Savior beckons us from the temptations that would devour us."  

 

So true! See you Sunday.                     RAS

Just Five Little Words
Christians Under Plexiglass