Lion Hugs Woman {awesome guest post by Paula Whidden)

Nov 24, 2012Heal from the past

I’m so happy to have Paula Whidden here today. She’s been a huge blessing on my Everything launch team. She was a former full-time youth and children’s pastor, and now writes regularly at She has authored one book, 25 Days ‘Til Christ (A Family Advent Devotional) and is working on her second book to help strengthen marriages. You can connect with Paula on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Lion Hugs Woman
From the time I was young, whenever I saw animal trainers who stroked their animals; inside my stomach I felt a twinge of jealousy.

It happened whenever I visited a zoo or animal reserve.  The trainers who fed the lions and tigers and bears had their trust.  I deeply wanted to do the same.

1.    It’s a unique and special privilege very few people experience.

2.    A potentially vicious animal decides to hold back.

3.    To experience the beautiful irony of gentility and power.


I met a real lion trainer and watched him with one of his lions, named Felix. They stood only a few feet from me.  Felix acted like my housecat, only bigger.  He stretched and rubbed his body against his trainer.

It was evident.  Felix likes his trainer.

Though they play together, the trainer never forgets who he’s with.

As a male lion with two inch teeth and a full mane, Felix’s paws wield intense strength. I was told if Felix even gently pushed with one paw on his trainer’s knee, it would break.

You would think this knowledge would make me change my mind about wanting to hug a lion, but nope.  It just seems like a special blessing to receive a gentle approach from someone so strong and capable of destruction.

For this reason, it never bothers me when the Bible mentions the importance of fearing God.  The scripture writers made various references to God as a lion:

“They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.”Hosea 11:10

“The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken…?” Amos 3:8a

I know many people become confused at the thought of fearing a loving God.  And yet, if this loving God can accurately be compared to a lion, then I think, “I want to hug that lion.”

There’s no trickery involved, no training techniques to tame God’s power.  He chooses to take us within His space. He reaches out to us as a sign of affection. He withholds His power, because of His great love for us.

He’s still quite capable of forcing Himself on us. After all, if He made the sun and the cosmos, what power could possibly intimidate Him? Yet, this isn’t the side of Himself which He gives to those who trust Him first.

He easily roams wherever He wants. God lives uncaged. He enables us to do the same, because of His companionship.  For some people, this is a terrifying thought, but it needn’t be. Jesus’ expressed this decision to a people who knew of God’s capabilities.  He said, “for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29b)

He’s not trying to confuse us. He’s offering us His softer side. Let’s be honest, if He is with us, who do we need to fear?


What about you?  Have you ever wanted to hug a lion?