The Ghost and The Darkness: Who is Your “Lion Slayer”?
On Saturday, August 6, 2016, I was cleaning and purging my closets to find clothing and shoes to donate to my favorite charity, Suited for Change, in Washington, DC. And YES, I do realize that I have more than enough shoes and clothes so I choose to give them to those I feel can most benefit. Simultaneously, I was also doing one of my favorite things, watching an adventure movie. This time it was The Ghost and the Darkness….which was not a box office smash nor did it receive favorable ratings by the critics. But I have seen this movie at least six times, so I don’t listen much to the movie critics for I make my own assessment. To me it is a “great movie” from which one can draw analogies to one’s life.
Just as background, this movie is set in 1896 where a construction engineer, John Henry Patterson, played by Val Kilmer, is sent to build a railway bridge across Kenya's Tsavo River for the British East African Railway. Soon after he arrives, workmen begin to disappear at night from their tents - never to be seen alive again. The engineer soon discovers that a pair of man-eating lions are stalking around the bridge and campsites, killing the workmen for food. He attempts to get rid of them, but the beasts always seem to know what Patterson is doing and they avoid being shot. After 30 men have been killed Patterson's boss recruits a hunter to hunt down and destroy the lions. But the lions continue killing the workmen until they flee the camps, jumping onto the train as it rolls through Tsavo. Now Patterson (Kilmer), the hunter (Michael Douglas) and his aide (John Kani) must face these savvy and frightening monsters alone. After more attacks and attempts to destroy the lions, Patterson manages to slay the two lions and the workers then return to the Tsavo River to complete the task that they had set out to accomplish many weeks earlier.
Each time I see this movie, I attempt to draw parallels not only to my life but also to those circumstances beyond my control. For me, the man-eating lions symbolize the “challenges” we face in life that could potentially destroy our faith, our strength, our beliefs and our well-being…..as well as being symbolic of “opportunities” that can cause us to possibly question our own ability, capacity, and resiliency.
It too reminds me of the great Bible Story of Daniel who was thrown into the lion’s den because of a wicked law that, during a 30-day period, anyone who prayed to another god or man besides King Darius would be thrown into the den. But Daniel wasn’t touched by the lions, not because they weren’t hungry but because God refused to allow the lions to feast upon him. King Darius, acknowledging the power of Daniel's God to deliver and rescue, then ordered the men (and their families) who made the wicked law to be thrown in with the lions. They had not even touched the ground by the time the lions began to devour them. Daniel had no idea what would happen too him in the lion’s den. You should take encouragement from the story of Daniel and trust that “Your Protector” will take care of you. You might be enduring your own personal "den of lions" right now. The key is not to place your focus on your situation but rather on your all-powerful Protector, whoever that might be. I say Protector because I recognize and honor people of all faiths and beliefs wherein each of us has what we consider our “Higher Power.” I remind myself daily that there is indeed a “Lion Slayer” in our midst…..one who holds our future allowing us to thrive, survive, endure and overcome all things—even when we have no idea what might happen!!!