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Jesus in the Zoo?

June 21, 2009

Yes, the title seems childish. Well, it was inspired after a  book I was reading to my daughter few days ago. Here’s the general story from the book we read:

There is this nice family living on the countryside, on their own farm, nestled near a forest area. There are big, tall trees surrounding the farm, and it is quite a wild countryside. The family consists of a Grandpa, a Papa, a Mama and a small boy – maybe 8 or 9 years old. There are also some neighbors – around 10 families or so, living in close vicinity.

Grandpa and Papa go hunting each day, deep into the forest. One day, a Big Bear shows up and scares the Grandpa to death. Papa shoots the bear, and the Bear dies. Grandpa is scared, the Bear is dead, and Papa is sad that he had to shoot the bear. Sad.

Here comes the twist – the Bear that was shot is a Mama Bear. She has a small baby Bear, now orphaned.

Papa comes home and shares what happened with the family. They all decide to be more careful around the house. They also alert the neighbors. Everybody is watching out for Bears now.

After a couple of days a small baby Bear shows up at the boy’s window, while he is fast asleep. The boy wakes up due to some noise outside his window. Finds the baby Bear and brings him inside. The baby Bear sleeps nice and cozy with the boy. In the morning the boy wonders what to do. He finally decides to tell his Papa. After he tells them about the baby Bear they all get furious. But the boy pleads and begs, and agrees to do many chores in return of being allowed to keep the baby Bear. Papa finally agrees.

The boy grows with the baby Bear. They become the best of friends in the whole world. They spend lot of time playing, wandering in the forest and having fun!

The Bear has now grown almost 5-6 feet tall. He goes from house to house, and causes lot of headache to the neighbors. He eats their small chickens, he breaks their fences, he walks into their barns and messes everything up, and he even scares their horses. When the bear was small everybody enjoyed him. But now as the bear grew and started wreaking havoc in their lives, turning their comfortable lives upside down and causing lot of headache, neighbors kind of get upset with the family, the Bear and the boy. Even Grandpa gets upset because the Bear broke his horse cart one day.

So, Papa decides to have a chat with the boy about putting the Bear to sleep by shooting him. It will be dangerous to let the Bear go loose. The boy becomes very sad at the thought of killing his best friend. Instead he promises Papa to take the Bear far away and leave him in the wilderness. Papa agrees and the boy and the Bear go on a journey. After walking many hours they come near a rocky place. The boy says his last bye-bye and leaves the Bear. Both of them are in tears.

To the boy’s surprise, Bear shows up at his window the next morning! Now what to do? Papa has another chat with the boy. The boy convinces Papa to give him another chance. So off they walk again and now they come near a big wide ocean after walking for miles and miles. The boy gets teary eyed and says final bye-bye to the Bear and walks back home. In the bed, at night, the boy is still thinking about the Bear. What must he be doing now? What did he eat for dinner? After much thinking the boy gets tired and falls asleep.

Next morning, the Bear shows up at his window, again! The boy is very elated after seeing the bear but also sad. Papa talks to him again and gives one final chance.

This time, the boy takes the bear to another place far away from home. They say the final goodbye, give each other a big hug, and the boy comes back home. Next morning, the Bear is back home again!

Finally, Papa has one last conversation with the boy and persuades him to put the Bear to sleep. Papa wants the boy to shoot the bear. The boy becomes very sad at this – but has to obey Papa now. He was given too many chances.

Bear and the boy go into the woods. As the boy is about to pull the trigger the Bear runs away. The boy follows him and finds out that the Bear is about to enter into some sort of a big wooden cage. He runs with the Bear into the cage. As soon as they both enter the cage, the door automatically shuts down and they both get locked in. It was a trap!

They spend the whole afternoon in the cage. In the evening, a big truck shows up and stops near the cage. Few men jump from the truck and are happy to see the trapped bear. But soon, they also see the boy trapped and are really surprised!

The boy tells them about the Bear, that he is harmless and that he is good friends with him. The men believe the boy and take the bear out from the cage. The boy also tells them that his Papa wants him to kill the bear.

The Men talk amongst themselves and give him an idea. They were from the Zoo in the city and had setup the cage to capture some new animals. They suggest to the boy about taking the Bear to the Zoo. The boy thinks for some time and agrees. At least, his friend will not be dead and he can go see him whenever he wants to!

After a few weeks the boy makes a trip to the city to meet his Bear friend. The Bear quickly recognizes the boy, they both are happy to see each other. They enjoy many hours together and the Zoo administrators even let the boy enter the cage. It is a joyful day for both of them!

The story kind of had a good ending – the Bear did not die. But he was caged.

The other day, I was driving back from work. And this story popped up in my head. I asked, have I put my Jesus in a Zoo?

The day I decided to follow the Lord, I knew that it is going to be a bumpy ride. My walk with him in the early days will be fun but as years pass by, he is going to cause lot of problems in my life. He is going to mess my schedules up, he is going to pull me out of my comfort zones, he is going to break my fences, and on and on. And I will try hard to take him far away and leave him there. But he shows up at my window in the morning, every single time!

Finally, I want to get rid of him from my life, even though deep inside I still want him. Maybe, getting rid of him might be the only best option. But instead, the Zoo people show up and decide to take him. That proves to be very convenient!

I can go see him whenever I want and how much ever long I want. I can even get inside his cage and spend some time there!

The next question that I started pondering: Is my church going, like going to a Zoo to see Jesus?

Where is your Jesus? In the Zoo or in your Life, allowed to do whatever he wants with your Life?

Worth pondering, I guess.

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